The City of Noblesville Tree Board was recently informed that Noblesville secured a matching grant of $25,000 from the USDA Forest Service. The funds will cover planting 80 trees on public property, expanding tree inventory and building on the city’s urban forestry management plan.
Tree Board President Ashley Mulis said the board is working on a five-year plan to increase the tree canopy cover in Noblesville and raise community awareness of the benefits of trees. The board is conducting a survey to gauge residents’ interest on the initiative.
“It became clear that most of the tree board’s goal is educational in nature,” Mulis said.
Noblesville also has hired John Easley, the city’s urban forester.
“The way the city is structured, the urban forester is responsible for the care and maintenance of trees in the city right-of-way, which is primarily along roadways and the like,” Easley said. “The parks department takes care of trees in parks and on trails.”
Mulis said the tree board wants to supplement Easley’s work with social media posts, articles and letters to local homeowners’ associations.
“What John and I have found in our careers as arborists is, many people are unaware of the health benefits trees provide the community,” Mulis said. “Flooding and poor air quality and erosion are all effects of the loss of canopy cover. More importantly, tree canopy has a huge effect on physical and mental health, so those (survey) questions address the awareness around those benefits and follows up with questions about if they’re interested in having trees planted in the right-of-way in front of their property.”
The tree board also is exploring a cost-share program to plant more trees on private property.
“We are asking about the willingness to be a part of this effort. Working together as a community, we know we can accomplish a lot more,” Mulis said. “Residents can keep an eye on the trees near their homes for drought, stress and pest and disease issues to help the urban forestry staff target issues and giving the trees a drink when they need it.”
The survey is available at surveymonkey.com/r/X3589BB and will remain open “until people stop taking it,” Mulis said.