New arboretum at Chattanooga's Grace Episcopal Church to be dedicated Sunday

Staff Photo by Robin Rudd / From left, Lisa Lemza and Kristina Shaneyfelt talk about the informational display that maps each tree in the arboretum. Grace Episcopal Church will hold a dedication ceremony Jan. 23 for its new arboretum, as certified by the Tennessee Urban Forestry Council. It's a Level 2 (out of Levels 1-4), which means it has 60-89 distinct tree species labeled with their scientific and common names and a map of the tree locations is available. Kristina Shaneyfelt and Lisa Lemza are Master Gardeners and native plant specialists who have spearheaded the project.

Guided by Bible passages that cite the evidence of God in nature, parishioners of Grace Episcopal Church will dedicate an arboretum Sunday on their 4-acre property in Brainerd. It's the latest in a network of Chattanooga-area properties dedicated to an appreciation of trees.

"The Earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof," said Lisa Lemza, referencing Psalm 34, as she walked the church grounds Tuesday afternoon. "Nature is the fundamental way we approach God."

GreenGrace Arboretum has been certified as a Level 2 arboretum, out of a possible four, by the Tennessee Urban Forestry Council, one of multiple organizations that provide such designations. Several properties in the Chattanooga area have been certified by the council, including Reflection Riding Arboretum and Nature Center, the area's only arboretum at the highest designation, Level 4.