Arbor Conservation Board for Oct. 29, 2020

Members Present: Bob Sargent (chair), Michael Glisson, Seth Hawkins (Ga Forestry Commission), Emily Hopkins (secretary), Erin Keller (NewTown), Karol Kelly, Alex Morrison, Wayne Woodworth, Gregory Glover, Caroline Childs, George Thomas, Ryan Griffin and Randall Hunt.

Agenda Items: New Board Members and Vacancies (Bob): Each member introduced themselves as there is a new chair and three new members. There is one vacancy and one position that is not going to be filled.

Invasive Removal at Amerson (Karol): Update and Future Opportunities.Sixteen people have registered for the removal event.

Fruit Tree Grove Project ( Michael, Alex): Alex spoke to the history of the project. Hydrolia Street is an appropriate place for an orchard. The hope is that people in the neighborhood will have access to fresh fruit that they can pick, and that it will become a pilot for other green spaces. Michael spoke to the plan he has drawn up and shared with the board. This is an important way to give back to the community. UDA and Parks and Beautification are paying for it. Plants ready to go! Just need the board’s approval. The plants were bought from Mossy Corner Nursery in Forsyth. Caroline (Keep Macon Beautiful) will take on supplying wildflower material.

Status of Clearcut on Masonic Home Property (Bob): Bob gave some history and context. After showing a map of the project, he let the board know that Karol had suggested that Bob talk to the property owners and the forestry commission to see what is happening with the project. It is a 550 acre clear cut on the bluff above Amerson. Bob spoke to the Water quality person who explained that the project is abiding by best practice requirements. They are going beyond requirements. It is a 2 year project. Bob met with people who live there and explained lob lolly pine will be planted and there will be new wildlife.

Cherry Tree Update (Wayne): Helen Taft (new variety of cherry tree, a hyrid) has been chosen as replacement for the Yoshino. It is, overall, a better variety. There were 45 Helen Taft trees in a nursery in Pennsylvania. He went up and got 5 of them to observe and use for cuttings to get the project going while waiting to get the other 40. The other 40 have been bought by the Fickling Family Foundation and others in Macon. They are expensive $150 for each 3yr old, 6 ft high tree. Would like to do grafting this winter and treat them with fungicide next spring. Wayne now has as over a 1000 cuttings and small trees.

Cedar Tree Lighting (Emily): A new tree was installed at government centre by the Rotary Club, but it has never had lighting. Emily made the suggestion that this board takes on this task. While precise costing has not been done, Emily thought it would be between $100-200, and certainly less than $500. The Board decided it would like to be involved and Emily will find out the costs. Michael will look into whether facilities can help.

Tree City of USA, Tree World Update (Michael): We were among the first cities to be named a Tree City of the World. There is an annual process of reapplication for Tree City and Tree World. Michael has already made the applications. All is in order.

Arbor Day Ceremony (Caroline): In response to the question from the chair, “What does the board need to do?” Michael stressed that this joint event with Keep MaconBibb Beautiful, is straightforward. As Caroline is new to the board, Michael took the lead in explicating the event. Middle Georgia State University buys the tree. The board picks a venue for the planting. It is nice to have a high profile location that will naturally involve other agencies. The event is held the 3rd Friday in February, but it can be carried out any time that week. This is a simple event that does not require any hands on assistance from the board. Karol – reminded the board that in the past, it has used the event to conduct some education. Caroline suggested partnering with some schools so can do some education around the event. Seth said the Georgia Forestry Commission would be happy to help.

Next meeting will be held on Friday, Nov. 20 at 10 a.m.