Project helps educate community on eco-value of trees

Karen Jackson (left) and Tom DeRoss of the Tipp City Tree Advisory Board hang a tag, which contains information on the ecological value in dollars for a specific species over 10 years. This work is part of a board project focusing on the Tipp City urban forest. CONTRIBUTED
Caption
Karen Jackson (left) and Tom DeRoss of the Tipp City Tree Advisory Board hang a tag, which contains information on the ecological value in dollars for a specific species over 10 years. This work is part of a board project focusing on the Tipp City urban forest. CONTRIBUTED

Tags provide information on various species.

TIPP CITY – Large tags hanging from trees around the community are intended to provide information on the estimated value of various species of trees.

The tree tag project began earlier this year after a presentation on how it would work and its goals to the Tipp City Tree Advisory Board, said board member Karen Jackson.

The project fits into the tree board’s continuing goal of educating the community on the value of trees – such as improved air quality, cooling and shading, storm water control and the intangible asset of beauty, Jackson said.

The tree board is a group of volunteers who work with the city staff to care for the local urban forest. The board meets monthly.

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She learned about the tree tag concept from Tree Academy classes she attended. Cities, parks and arboretums across the country have pursued these projects in which the ecological value in dollars of specific trees over a 10-year period is calculated.

“I felt it could help impress upon our citizens the importance of caring for and expanding our urban forest,” Jackson said.

“The Tree Advisory Board feels the tree tags would be a great marketing tool to educate people. Then, they would be more likely to support the planting and care of this important resource,” the board wrote in explaining the need for the program.

The project involved students in the Tipp City Schools at L.T. Ball Intermediate School and Tippecanoe Middle School for an Arbor Day experience.

Administrators Greg Southers, now retired, and Mike Vagedes put Jackson in touch with teachers Chad Kuhn, Brad Koopman and Carmella Lammers. A retired educator, Jackson credited them with being instrumental in getting the project off the ground.

The schools’ involvement included students in a computer class creating the graphic design for the tags. In a science class, students researched trees around the Middle School and its neighbor Nevin Coppock Elementary and determined their eco-values. Other students researched trees around L.T. Ball school.

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The eco-value of the trees was estimated by first identifying the tree species and diameter. That information then was plugged into an online formula. The calculation used the National Tree Benefit Calculator, a tool developed by Casey Trees and the Davey Tree Expert Co., Jackson said.

Based on the number obtained, she then wrote a 10-year value specific to each tree on the sign.

Natural fiber rope was used to hang each tag.

Funding for the project was obtained through a grant application by the city to the Tipp City Foundation.

In a project outcome report, Jackson wrote she found the value is determined primarily by the species. The bur oak, elm and maple trees have high values for their relative size, she wrote. The 10-year values for trees ranged from $150 to $1,300; the highest value on placed on a tree in the city was $1,300 for a tulip poplar.

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So far, 20 weather-proof tags have been hung on trees in prominent sites across the city.

Those trees include hornbeam, maple tulip poplar, bur oak, cottonwood, Norway maple, gallery pear, crabapple, sweet gum, linden, ginkgo and pin oak.

More information on the Tipp City Tree Advisory Board is available on the city website at tippcityohio.gov.

Contact this contributing writer at nancykburr@aol.com.