Clanton gets forestry grant extension

Published 7:48 pm Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The City of Clanton has received a $6,000 grant to continue its urban forestry management program.

The grant, which requires a 100-percent match from the city, provides funding for Phase 2 of the program. During this phase, a certified arborist will continue to take inventory of trees on city property and remove unsafe trees or branches that pose a threat to the public.

Arborist Leh Bass of Opelika assisted the city in the removal of 30 such trees during Phase 1, Clanton Beautification/Tree Board secretary Susan Rickles said.

“We have also applied for two grants with the Alabama Power Foundation – the Plant a Tree project and a Gateway Enhancement Grant,” she added.

The latter would allow the city to plant new trees around its welcome signs along public highways, Rickles said.

Other goals of the urban forestry management program include educating the public about tree care and promoting new tree planting among Clanton’s citizens.

Ann Baker, the program’s coordinator and Clanton City Council member, received the Fire Cracker of the Year Award from Tree City USA recently. Baker is the second recipient of the award, which is given “in recognition of outstanding accomplishments and valuable contributions to the Alabama Urban and Community Forestry Program.”

“She’s just like a firecracker. You light her, give her a little information, and she just keeps going,” said Michelle Cole, Urban and Community Forestry Volunteer Coordinator with Auburn University. “This program is something extra we do in addition to Tree City USA.”

Baker was considered among volunteers in the 74 Tree City USA programs across the state. Only one person in the state receives the award each year.