Life in our ‘Tree Trifecta’
May 21, 2013 | 620 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Some believe a community’s caliber is best measured by how it treats its children, its elderly, its poor and its veterans.

We happen to believe our Cleveland and Bradley County hometown compares favorably to any town in any state in any nation and on any continent in each of the above categories.

And here’s another.

We prize our trees.

Not to sound too lighthearted when comparing our love for Mother Earth and its bountiful gifts to the attention we pay to our children, elderly, poor and veterans, but Cleveland folks like their trees. It’s just that simple.

Don’t believe us?

Then consider this. According to Cleveland’s urban forester, Dan Hartman, Cleveland is thought to be one of only 16 cities to hold the distinction of being “Tree Trifecta” communities.

Any who are unfamiliar with the term should consult state Rep. Kevin Brooks, R-Cleveland representing the 24th Legislative District. It is thought Brooks may have coined the term based on his town’s love of trees, as evidenced by three impressive distinctions granted by the Arbor Day Foundation.

One, the municipality of Cleveland has been named a Tree City USA for the 21st consecutive year.

Two, Cleveland Utilities has been named a Tree Line USA public utility for the 13th consecutive year.

Three, Cleveland State Community College has been named a Tree Campus USA for the fourth consecutive year.

What does this trio share? The entities care for their trees. Each holds itself accountable to environmental standards as set forth by the Arbor Day Foundation. All believe that an ounce of prevention today will lead to a world of green tomorrow, and beyond.

Any who would question the value of trees while brandishing the title of “huggers” upon those who preserve, with great passion, the beauty that Mother Nature has bestowed upon our planet should consider this.

Life.

Again, it’s pretty simple.

Trees purify. Trees beautify. Trees amplify all that is great in life and which looks good in green.

Here’s another perspective. A world without trees would be a world ... without.

And so it comes with satisfaction, and pride, that we congratulate Cleveland City Councilman Dale Hughes. These accolades are not for a political stance. They are not admiration for commercial developments. None is a tribute to personal success. True, all are well deserving of a pat on the back and a warm “atta boy, Dale!” But today’s salute to the local businessman, civic servant and church leader comes as being the winner of Cleveland’s recent “Big Old Tree” contest.

As most already know by now, among a field of 21 entries, the towering red oak on Hughes’ property at 3635 North Ocoee St. was named the city’s biggest old tree. In a tale of the tape, [Dan] Hartman — who measured each of the submissions in order to verify their owners’ eye for big trees — reported the North Ocoee red oak is 130 feet tall with a branch spread of 108 feet and a trunk circumference of about 19 feet.

Folks, that’s a big tree by any standards.

In trees, size matters. In the case of this one, the bark-covered leviathan’s age is the root cause. The giant is thought to be 200 years old. That means somebody planted it — human, squirrel, distant clan of the Appleseed’s or other — sometime around 1813.

Not all towns qualify as a “Tree Trifecta.” Frankly, most do not.

But for those who do, it says a lot for the community, for its people, and for government and education leaders who believe in the worth of this planet and the immeasurable value of life itself.

Congratulations municipality of Cleveland, Cleveland Utilities and Cleveland State Community College.

Your passion for clean water and pure air is planted deep within the soul of a hometown community known by most as “The City With Spirit.”