Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
January 20, 2022
Mayor Mike Lednovich proclaimed Friday, January 21, 2022, “Florida Arbor Day”in the City of Fernandina Beach at the January 18, 2022 Regular Meeting of the Fernandina Beach City Commission (FBCC). Planning and Conservation Department Arborist Dave Neville accepted the proclamation on behalf of the City.
Neville thanked the City for the Proclamation and showed the audience two recent awards: the Tree City USA award for the 20th year and the first Arbor Day Foundation “Growth Award”.He said that in honor of Arbor Day, the City will be planting 7 trees at Egans Creek Park, and the public is invited to attend the ceremony which will begin at 9:30 a.m. on Friday at the park.
During Public Comment, City resident Tammi Kosack thanked the City for a workshop held the previous week on Heritage Trees that packed City Commission Chambers. She reported that there are currently 32 Heritage Trees officially designated in the City, but that there are many more trees qualified for this designation, most of which are in City Right Of Ways.
She said that a 2009 survey indicated that about 900 trees in the City were eligible for the Heritage Tree designation; today, there are 147 left. She said that there is a group of volunteers “ready, willing and able” to help the Planning Department add these trees to the Heritage Tree group. She said, “If we designate these trees, it brings awareness.” She suggested streamlining the designation process and adding some type of identifier to each Heritage Tree, perhaps ribbons with a City logo.
She said that there would be only minimal cost to the City for these efforts, which would demonstrate to residents and visitors alike how important trees are to the quality of life of City residents.
She asked the FBCC to prod the Planning and Conservation Department to move quickly on this initiative to take advantage of the volunteers who are ready to get to work.
Randy McCollum, who also attended the Heritage Tree workshop, commended the City arborist for his presentation. She echoed Kosack’s comments.
Commissioner Bradley Bean moved that the FBCC direct the City Manager to move forward on Kosack’s suggestions. Vice Mayor Len Kreger, who reported that the Planning Department was already working on this, seconded the motion, which passed on a 5-0 vote.