The city of Sandy Springs officially celebrated Arbor Day on Feb. 17, planting a Dutch Elm in the ground along Sandy Springs Circle and covering its base with dirt using gold-colored shovels.
City officials posed for the cameras before scooping a few shovelfuls onto the roots, but the city’s commitment to trees doesn’t end when the media and cameras aren’t around. The city was recently named a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation for the third consecutive year. City Environmental Compliance Officer Michael Barnett said the city has its own “tree fund,” made up of fees paid by developers who aren’t able to plant enough trees on their sites.
The city takes the money and uses it to plant trees elsewhere. Barnett said the city has to maintain a certain percentage of canopy cover under its conservation ordinance.
Trees also make Barnett’s job easier.
“It helps with water runoff, provides shade and sequesters carbon dioxide,” Barnett said.
The tree fund also helped pay for the planting of the Princeton Elm, a disease-resistant strain immune to the Dutch Elm virus that felled much of the North American population years ago.
Barnett said the hardier tree was hard to come by. The city also planned to plant Swamp White Oaks and Tulip Poplar trees, according to a press release.
“It’s good to plant a diversity of trees,” Barnett said.
Mayor Eva Galambos read a proclamation at the event describing a diversity of benefits trees provide, from fuel to shade.
The Rotary Club of Sandy Springs also gave the nonprofit group Trees Sandy Springs a check for $150 for tree plantings. The nonprofit group coordinates with the city, Barnett said.