Silence at home, but in Nashville TN, a “campaign to restore and enlarge the city’s tree canopy.”


New Albany has a Tree Board, and over the years, I’ve experienced a great deal of trouble when trying to learn from it exactly what the city’s urban canopy plan is, and where the plan (if any) is lodged.

Could I have a look?

I started asking for information two years ago, and never received it. We see dozens of trees being felled all around the city, and some of them replanted, but in spite of requests to be shown the comparative numbers, there remains no accurate public accounting.

In the past, I have suggested that little more can be expected from public officials who don’t go outside often enough to know the difference between standing in the sun and standing in the shade — who drive and never walk, who react and never think. I may or may not have been too harsh.

However, one thing cannot be disputed: while other cities make their tree canopy plans available and go so far as to enlist public participation (see below), ours keeps its urban canopy goals (whatever these might be) safely under wraps, as though they were a state secret.

In New Albany at the present time, there is only one consistent City Hall policy unifying the mayor’s stewardship: control in the person of the mayor himself and the mayor’s closest confidantes. Whether good, bad or indifferent, all decisions emanate from this need to keep a tight lid on information, and to allow citizen participation only under intricately proscribed and mostly inane conditions.

Residents may or may not find this situation conducive to their lives. I’d merely make the point that there is another way, and there will be alternatives come 2019, and our next round of municipal elections.

Meanwhile, there’s Nashville.

More Trees, Happier People, by Margaret Renkl (New York Times)

When cities grow, green space dies. Replanting it has been shown to lift the human spirit.

NASHVILLE — The scene in a tiny pocket park outside Plaza Mariachi here on Nolensville Pike last Wednesday was like a tableau from a Norman Rockwell painting, 21st-century style. Surrounded by signs advertising the Hispanic Family Foundation, Dubai Jewelry, the Dominican Barber Shop and restaurants offering Peruvian, Chinese, Mediterranean and Indian food — as well as a Game Stop franchise and H&R Block — was a small sign that read, “Today: Free trees.”

The arrow on the sign pointed to a pop-up canopy where the Nashville Tree Foundation was hosting its fourth tree giveaway of October. A family standing under the canopy was posing for a photo with the sapling they had just adopted. Carolyn Sorenson, executive director of the foundation, was taking the picture: “Say ‘trees’!” she said.

The tree giveaway at Plaza Mariachi happened to fall on the very day that Nashville’s mayor, David Briley, announced a campaign to restore and enlarge the city’s tree canopy. The effort, called “Root Nashville,” will be overseen by the city and the Cumberland River Compact, an environmental nonprofit, and funded through a combination of public, corporate, foundation and private dollars. Together with several municipal departments and other nonprofit organizations, the initiative aims to plant 500,000 trees in Davidson County by 2050 …