History of Tennessee Urban Forestry Council

The first urban forestry council in Tennessee met on February 14, 1991, at 10 a.m. at the main conference room of the Department of Conservation, 701 Broadway, Nashville, Tennessee. The urban forestry section of the Tennessee Division of Forestry organized the meeting.

Individuals present to form this council were Alice Ann Barge, Marilyn Brown, Janet Bunch, Steve Clark, Josh Collins, Jim Cortese, Debra Dedrick, Kim Hawkins, Gene Hyde, Jim Johnson, Wilma Keeney, Martine Madlinger, Rick Minton, Tom Simpson, Dr. George Weaver and Guy Zimmerman. Others present included Ed Macie of the US Forest Service, Roy Ashley, Hart Applegate, Wayne Clatterbuck, Marsha Thibault and Bruce Webster of the Tennessee Division of Forestry and Sharon Fitzgerald from the Tennessee Municipal League.

Founding committee

  • Guy Zimmerman (Vice-Chairman), area forester, Cookeville
  • Marilyn Brown, director, Memphis Beautiful Committee
  • Janet Bunch, horticulturist, City of Knoxville
  • Josh Collins, Recreation and Parks Dept., Oak Ridge
  • Kim Hawkins, landscape architect, Nashville
  • Jim Johnson, extension agent, Nashville
  • Ricky Minton, nurseryman, McMinnville
First Minutes

Past presidents

2016: De'Etra Young, Tennessee State University, Nashville
2015: Scott Johnson, Davey Tree, Nashville
2014: Patrick Haller, Haller's Landscaping, Sparta
2013: Karla Kean, U.S. Extension Agent, Clarksville
2012: Patrick Haller, Haller's Landscaping, Sparta
2011: Zack French,Tree Solution Consulting Services
2010: Heather Langford, SSRCx, Nashville
2009: Karla Kean, U.S. Extension Agent, Clarksville
2008: Patrick Walding, City Forester, Johnson City
2007: Patrick Haller, Haller's Landscaping, Sparta
2006: Patrick Haller, Horticulturist, City of McMinnville, Quality Trees, Sparta
2005: Sam Adams, General Manager, Cortese Tree Specialists, Knoxville
2004: Michael Bouton, City Arborist, City of Murfreesboro, Murfreesboro
2003: Dottie Mann, Private Citizen, Past Tree Board President, Clarksville
2002: Marty Shaw, President, Tree Injection Products Company, Knoxville
2001: David Vandergriff, County Agent, UT Extension Service, Maynardville
2000: Cynthia Holloway, City Horticulturist, Murfreesboro
1999: Bill Wyatt, County Agent, UT Extension Service, Jackson
1998: Kim Cross, Private Arborist, Southern Tree Specialists, Brentwood
1997: Brett Smith, Landscape Architect, Regan Smith & Associates, Nashville
1996: Shawn Bible, Metro Beautification/Dept. of Transportation, Nashville
1995: Dr. Alva Pendergrass, Retired Army Colonel, Martin
1994: Janet Bunch, Landscape Design Services, City Horticulturist, Seymore
1993: Jim Cortese, Cortese Tree Specialists, Knoxville
1992: Guy Zimmerman, Area Forester, Tenn. Division of Forestry, Cookeville
1991: Gene Hyde, City Forester, Chattanooga

Council milestones

MINUTES: January
MINUTES: February April July
  • Promoted sustainable urban forestry practices throughout the state at gardening festivals, extension workshops, the Tennessee Municipal League’s statewide conference and ISA’s Southern conference in Knoxville. At the Nashville Lawn and Garden Show we wrapped, tagged and distributed 300 seedlings to tree enthusiasts from 4 states and 45 Tennessee cities!
  • Held the 25th anniversary “Hands on Urban Forestry” annual conference October 6-7 in Murfreesboro with approximately 100 in attendance. Two tours were offered in Murfreesboro in addition to the myriad of speakers.
  • Added 2 Heritage and 5 Historic trees for total of 48 trees currently on the registry with new trees being added every year..
  • Certified 10 new arboreta and recertified 13 arboreta. To date, there are 88 arboreta in Tennessee. In honor of our 25th anniversary, our certified arboreta were offered a $100 grant to add a new tree species to their site. 25 arboreta chose to participate, adding 40 trees to our certified arboreta.
  • Launched a new home arboretum program. This educational program encourages home owners to identify and map their current tree species, plant new ones and care for them. Four Tree Sanctuaries were created this past year in East, Middle, and West Tennessee.
  • Sponsored the Tennessee Tree Climb Competition in Nashville with 18 participants competed this year (including a woman from Sweden). Casey Johnson won and will represent Tennessee in 2017 at the ISA Southern Chapter Regional Tree Climb in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
  • Six Awards of Excellence were given to Vicki Turner, Joellen Dimond, The Compost Company, Tony Larkins, Chattanooga Tree Commission, and Chris Armour at the conference. These awards aim to acknowledge green leaders throughout Tennessee that are promoting significant change in their communities.
  • Campbell Casseb became the 2nd recipient of the Bruce Webster College Scholarship. The aim of this scholarship is to help offset college expenses for an outstanding student and Tennessee citizen that is pursuing a career in urban forestry.
  • 2016 report
  • Held Urban Forestry Conference, Walking in Memphis: The Future of Urban Forestry, October 1-2 in Memphis
  • Received a $25,000 grant from the Dept of Agriculture, Division of Forestry for 2014-2015 for administration, conference costs, and three arborist workshops: West (UFA advanced tree id workshop), Middle (arborist workshop) and East (tree board workshop), partnering with our West Tennessee Chapter, past and current board members, and Sharon Jean Philippe/Nick Bridgeman in the East.
  • Launched a new website for home owners focusing on the most commonly asked questions submitted to Extension agents in Mmiddle Tennessee as well as other resources
  • Set up the Notable Tree Exhibit at two locations: The Williamson County Garden Expo and the eight-day Wilson County Fair.
  • TUFC co-founder Bruce Webster retires from Division of Forestry
  • Introduced Bruce Webster scholarship program
  • Added four trees to Landscape, Historic, and Heritage Tree Registry
  • Added/recertified eleven arboreta
  • Staffed booth at Nashville Lawn and Garden Show (200 trees distributed), Middle Tennessee landscape management short course, Davidson County’s Urban Gardening Festival, Williamson County Garden Expo, and the Wilson County Fair.
  • Planted 50 trees in Bristol parks through $5,000 ACT/CSX grant
  • 2015 Report
  • Hosted tree board workshop in Cookeville
  • Held annual retreat in Cookeville with guest Ed Macie
  • Planted four trees to complete Tennessee Groves project
  • Held annual conference, Planting a Sustainable Future, September 18-19 in Nashville
  • Presented Urban Forestry Awards
  • Added three trees to Landscape, Historic, and Heritage Tree Registry
  • Held Tennessee Tree Climb September 20 in Nashville
  • Named/recertified seven arboreta
  • Held board meetings in Memphis, Nashville
  • Assisted with Tree Trail at Governor’s Mansion
  • Published Trees of Tennessee coffee-table book with Forestry grant
  • 2014 Report
  • Held annual retreat in Clarksville
  • Held board meetings in Clarksville, Nashville
  • Added or recertified eight arboreta
  • Introduced new category and named two corporate arboreta
  • Planted dogwoods, maple for Tennessee Groves program
  • Held annual conference, Urban Forestry: A Southern Story, in Jackson October 3-4
  • Presented Urban Forestry Awards
  • Added four trees to Landscape, Historic, and Heritage Tree Registry
  • Held Tennessee Tree Climb October 5 in Jackson
  • Introduced business member discounts
  • Nashville chapter planted 100 trees with ACT/CSX grant
  • 2013 Report
  • Held annual retreat at Evans Mill near Smithville
  • Hired Jill Smith as part time administrative assistant
  • Added 5 additional trees to the Council’s Landmark and Historic Register. The register now includes 32 entries
  • Held 21st annual Urban Forestry Conference and 13th annual tree Climbing Championship at Ellington Ag Center in Nashville
  • Continue to certify and re certify arboreta sites across the state. The Council recognizes 70 sites with and additional 11 applications under review.
  • Added an East Tennessee Chapter
  • Held two board meetings, Jackson and Nashville
  • 2012 Report
  • Held annual retreat at SSR Offices in Nashville Accepted the resignation of Executive Director, Jennifer Smith Hired Interim Executive Director Nick Bridgeman
  • Held 20th annual Urban Forestry Conference and annual tree Climbing Championship at Ellington Ag Center in Nashville
  • Held two board meetings, Nashville, and Pikeville
  • Continued to certify and re certify arboreta.
  • Revised bylaws to eliminate 2nd vice president, advisory board, add voting by email and other changes
  • 2011 Report
  • Held annual retreat at Montgomery Bell State Park
  • Hosted town hall/board meetings in Jackson (April) and Crossville (September)
  • Hosted a board meeting with a fundraising session at Ellington Ag Center/Nashville (July)
  • Hosted annual urban forestry conference, Sustainable Sites and Natural Resources, at Chattanooga Choo-Choo.
  • Held Tree Climbing Championship in East Lake Park, Chattanooga
  • Arboretum Coordinator to certify arboretums. Certified to date: 60
  • Updated the website
  • Reorganized the Executive Committee, added an advisory board, new mission and vision statements, restructured and streamlined the bylaws.
  • Worked with UT on curriculum development for the new urban forestry concentration
  • Worked on the Tennessee Forest Resource Assessment and Strategy
  • Trees Nashville chapter: Presented first annual Alice Ann Barge Award, created Trees Nashville Coalition of local tree groups, assisted in tree canopy assessment presentation, held public forum, presented on tree canopy assessment at national Partners in Community Forestry conference
  • West Tennessee Chapter: Held Second Day of Caring at The Children's Museum. Presented to Chinese delegation . Partnered with Clean Memphis and TDOT to plant trees in the Lamar/240 cloverleaf. Held first tree sale. Doubled budget in conjunction with State Board and local partners.
  • 2010 Report

Milestones 1991–2009 More

Urban forestry conferences

logo 2017 Leading Green: Urban Forestry in a Changing Environment, UT Conference Center, Knoxville More
logo 2016 Hands-On Urban Forestry, Rutherford County Extension Office, Murfreesboro More
logo2015 Walking in Memphis: The Future of Urban Forestry, Memphis Botanic Garden More
logo 2014 Planting a Sustainable Future, Ellington Agricultural Center, Nashville More
logo 2013 Urban Forestry: A Southern Story, University of Memphis Lambuth, Jackson More
logo 2012 Urban Forestry for Healthy Living, Ellington Agricultural Center, Nashville More

Previous Conferences

2011 Urban Forestry from the Roots Up, Ellington Agricultural Center, Nashville
2010 Sustainable Sites and Natural Resources: The Urban Forestry Approach, Chattanooga Choo-Choo
2009 Greening Your Community: The Urban Forestry Approach, Lipscomb University, Nashville
2008 Nature of Design: Educating for the Future (with American Society of Landscape Architects), Hilton Hotel, Knoxville
2007 Building Great Communities (with American Planning Association, American Society of Landscape Architects, Urban Land Institute, Memphis Chapter, and U.S. Green Building Council/LEED, Memphis Chapter), Hilton Hotel, Memphis
2006 We're All Connected, (with American Planning Association and American Society of Landscape Architects), DoubleTree Hotel, Nashville
2005 Grassroots to Tree Roots: Creating Community Partnerships, Germantown Center, Germantown
2004 Planning Livable Communities: Trees and Urban Growth, Williamson Co. Ag Expo Park, Franklin
2003 Storm Water Problems: Urban Forestry Solutions, Choo-Choo Holiday Inn, Chattanooga
2002 Quality in the Urban Forest, Cheekwood Botanic Garden, Nashville
2001 Sustaining our Urban Forest, UT Conference Center, Knoxville
2000 Urban Forestry: 2000 and Beyond, Cheekwood Botanic Garden, Nashville
1999 Wind, Fire & Ice: Planning and Preparing for Natural Disasters, Maxwell House, Nashville
1997 The Landscape Underground, Ellington Ag Center, Nashville
1996 Greenscapes for Communities, Ellington Ag Center, Nashville
1995 Making Tracks for Greener Cities (with Society of Municipal Arborists), Choo-Choo Holiday Inn, Chattanooga
1994 3rd Annual Conference, Marriott Hotel, Nashville
1993 2nd Annual Conference, Marriott Hotel, Nashville
1992 1st Annual Conference, Marriott Hotel, Nashville

Town Hall Meetings

Since 2000 the Tennessee Urban Forestry Council has hosted Town Hall meetings in 34 cities across the state. These meetings are opportunities to bring together city elected officials and employees and tree board members to focus on the local urban forestry program and to note what is happening statewide and nationally.

Meeting locations included: Nashville, TTU Cookeville, Jackson, Clarksville, Nashville/Brentwood, Knoxville, Memphis, Harrogate, Murfreesboro, Sparta, Pulaski, TSU Nashville, UT Knoxville, McMinnville, Dickson Renaissance Center, Cookeville, Johnson City, Legislative Plaza of the State Capitol – Nashville, Cleveland, Jackson, Clarksville with a dedication of the memorial Tuttle Grove, Chattanooga including a city tour, Morristown including arboretum tour, Lebanon, Signal Mountain, Franklin, Kingston and Lakeland, Jackson and Crossville.

Tree Climbing Championship

2017 Sevier Park, Nashville
2016 Ellington Agricultural Center, Nashville
2015 Memphis Botanic Garden
2014 Sevier Park, Nashville
2013 University of Memphis Lambuth, Jackson
2012 Ellington Agricultural Center, Nashville
2011 Ellington Agricultural Center, Nashville
2010: East Lake Park, Chattanooga
2009 Centennial Park, Nashville
2008 Lakeview Park, Knoxville
2007 Memphis Botanic Garden, Memphis
2006 Hadley Park, Nashville
2005 Memphis Botanic Garden, Memphis
2004 Ellington Agricultural Center, Nashville
2003 Warner Park, Chattanooga
2002 Centennial Park, Nashville
2001 Lake Shore Park, Knoxville
2000 Cheekwood Botanic Garden, Nashville
1999 Centennial Park, Nashville