Urban trees are all over Gainesville.
They line Green Street. They’re around the square downtown. They appear more and more as the city continues to grow.
Odis Sisk, arborist and owner of Global Tree Preservation, will discuss urban tree care as guest speaker for January’s Brown Bag Lecture on Thursday at Elachee Nature Science Center. It starts at noon and costs $5 to attend.
“He’s just an advocate for trees and a very, very knowledgeable arborist,” said Peter Gordon, director of education at Elachee. “We’re excited about his program.”
Gordon said urban trees offer many benefits. One of the biggest is a simple one: shade. On top of that, urban trees, like others, take in gasses and release oxygen. They clean water, provide food for animals and more.
But Sisk said urban trees suffer when they’re introduced to an environment that isn’t native to them. That’s why he wants to educate people to better care for urban trees and keep them around for as long as possible.
“Our native trees can live 200 years,” Sisk said. “Here, if you can get 30 years out of an urban tree, then it’s fulfilled its duty.”
Sisk said urban trees could be in danger if not taken care of properly, and if they’re in high-traffic areas. That’s why many large and growing cities have special ordinances and policies regarding trees.
“Savannah, for example, has a very strict tree ordinance where trees are protected and there’s an awareness that trees provide a lot to the overall ambience of the community,” Gordon said. “As our community grows and becomes more urbanized and suburbanized, I imagine that our leaders will be looking at our trees, too, and looking at more ways to protect them and integrate them into our living spaces.”
Hall County has tree ordinances in place. These ordinances give information on tree removal, protection and the criteria for replacing trees, among other things. But Sisk said there are no fines for not following these ordinances and they’re not fully enforced.
Because of this, he said his goal of his talk is ecosystem awareness, helping people realize the connection between urban trees and the world around them.
“As an arborist, you never want to see the final product,” Sisk said. “Whether it be wood chips, logs or removal. Our goal is to have something that outlives us by hundreds of years.”
Brown Bag Lecture
What: Guest speaker Odis Sisk discusses urban tree care
When: Noon Jan. 18
Where: Elachee Nature Science Center, 2125 Elachee Drive, Gainesville, 770-535-1976
How much: $5
More info: www.elachee.org