August 15, 2005                                                                                          ITEM # 4



Item Title:            Capital Trees Program Biannual Awards


Specific Action Requested: 

That the Board of Commissioners receives a presentation on the Capital Trees Program. 


Item Summary:  

The Capital Trees Program was established in 1993 to promote the significance of trees in Wake County.  Its overall goal is to draw attention to the most noteworthy trees in the county and implement an educational program for people of all ages about the tree canopy and even the roots. More than 40 trees were nominated for awards from throughout Wake County for this year’s Capital Trees Program awards.


The Capital Trees Program has two parts.  First is the Educational Program to inform and involve residents to sustain and protect the urban and community forests throughout Wake County. This education has included annual partnerships for the last 6 years for tree care and pruning seminars, planting over 2000 seedling trees per year in partnership with the Triangle J Regional Appearance Committee and more than 300 tree-planting presentations since the program began. These seedlings have been re-planted annually on public property - mainly school campuses - so that now over 12,000 trees have been planted.  We are also beginning to make more use of Global Positioning and Geographic Information Systems technology to document and assess the environmental value and economic benefits of trees.


The second part of the program is the actual awards for trees that are recognized as the largest, scarcest, oldest and prettiest trees of various species.  Over 160 trees have received recognition in the past four biennial award cycles, and 35 more trees have been selected for awards this year.  One has also been recognized as a State Champion.  All award winners will be added to the Capital Trees Honor Roll, and, as time permits, to the Wake County GIS system.  


Because local governments are supportive of the Capital Trees Program and focus on tree preservation, seven municipalities have requested and received state enabling legislation to protect our champion trees on private property.