Oxford's Parks, Trees and Recreation Board received a recent boost with a 2008 Urban and Community Forestry grant from the Georgia Forestry Commission toward a $17,000 project for community workshops and Board development.
The $8,400 grant, which the city is matching, will help provide for three Tree Board development sessions, community education in the form of three tree care workshops, a regional forestry roundtable with other local tree boards and the start of a tree planting program for Oxford residents.
"I'm really excited about it," said Eve Mullen, chair of the board. "It's kind of a boost to the project," she said. "We hope continue the strong work and plant trees, maintain the trees that we have and maintain the tree canopy."
The board is also working on two park development projects - one labeling the types of trees in George Street Park, and the other is the creation of a "pocket park" in a small patch of city-owned land next to the site of the new city hall.
The grant was also an affirmation to the unpaid volunteers that make the board possible, said Mullen.
"Our tree board staff are fantastic volunteers. None of this would be possible without volunteer energy," she said. She also praised the support from the city council and city workers who do the work of maintaining the trees.
In addition to being a time of potential growth for the tree board programs, this year also marks the 10th consecutive year of Oxford's designation as a "Tree City" by the Arbor Day Foundation.
People often underestimate the importance of trees, said Mullen.
"Trees are life...Trees provide oxygen, shade, comfort. Trees increase property values," she said. "Most of all, our trees are a part of our shared heritage and we must preserve them for the next generation."
The workshops are roughly scheduled to take place in the fall and winter, with the regional roundtable in the spring.
Anyone interested in volunteering for the board can contact Dr. Eve Mullen at (770) 784-8428 or firstname.lastname@example.org.