You really can't separate Hickory from its trees. Our very name is a tree, and we are known worldwide for beautiful furniture crafted from wood. Tree leaves are a prominent part of our logo, and our previous logo also featured a tree. I've been talking with a lot of locals and the topic of trees comes up so often.
Most recently, people are upset about the loss of trees downtown. This is temporary, and while I understand the frustration that they were cut down right at the beginning of summer, and now Downtown is unshaded during the hottest time of the year, I also understand that the city will be planting more trees that match the work they are doing on the Square. I'm willing to be patient, and I hope you are too...the project should be completed in time for Octoberfest.
I live in the Claremont neighborhood of Hickory, and I am enamored with the trees the city planted years ago that line 127 as it cuts through the neighborhood. So I started looking and I've found that the city leadership DOES value trees, and have since Hickory was incorporated.
Since 2005, we've been classified as a Tree City USA, which is a program created by the Arbor Day Foundation to encourage stewardship of trees. To qualify, a city has to implement 4 things:
- Tree Board or Department
- Community Tree Ordinance
- Comprehensive Community Forestry Program
- Arbor Day Observance and Proclamation
I'm also intrigued by the Treasured Trees program, which allows citizens to nominate important trees which then have some protection. I'm reminded of the well-loved tree that stood on the grounds of the old St. Stephens Elementary School. The sadness the commuity felt when it was cut down was palpable. I think this program can help us avoid losses like that in the future, and if you know of threes that would qualify, you should nominate them!
We also have the Ivey Arboretum which is a lovely tribute to forestry and science. Over 400 species are grown and labeled on the three-acre park near the heart of Downtown. It's a lovely place for a walk and citizens have been gathering there since the early 19th century. In fact, there was a spring at the base of a tree that inspired people to come from miles away to drink. This continued for quite a while, establishing the spot as an important piece of Hickory. However, the water was tested and found to contain lead and arsenic, and the practice was immediately discontinued. A well drilled across the track caused the spring to dry up, but the spot was maintained as a park from that point.
If you love trees, Hickory is a wonderful place to be, and I think this is one thing the city is doing RIGHT. I applaud their work keeping Hickory green and beautiful.