CLEVELAND, Tenn. - Arborist Jon Nessle searched for likely branches to prune from a crepe myrtle Friday and demonstrated to a group at Cleveland State Community College what the members should be looking for in their own yards.
Like some other colleges in the area, Cleveland State is seeking Tree Campus USA status from the National Arbor Day Foundation. Cleveland has been a Tree City USA for more than a decade.
Cleveland State horticulturist Suzanne Bennett said an Arbor Day observance and upgrading the college arboretum are steps toward that designation. A college committee is working on arboretum procedures now, she said.
"It is more universities than community colleges" seeking the designation, she said. Bryan College in Dayton, Tenn., hopes to become a Tree Campus too, she said.
Robert Brewer, associate biology professor, said the entire campus of Cleveland State is a level one arboretum. That requires identification and labeling of at least 30 species of trees.
"We actually have enough species identified and labeled now to become a level two, which requires some 60 species," Mr. Brewer said. More than 90 species have been identified, but moving up the levels brings additional requirements such as volunteer hours for tours and other mandates, he said.
Mr. Brewer uses the campus trees for instruction. A fitness trail behind the campus is available to the public as well, he said.
Mr. Nessle, an International Society of Arboriculture certified arborist, said Tennessee forestry for wood and paper production is different from urban forests.
"Trees are just as important a natural resource to an urban setting for our oxygen as a river is for our water," he said.
Following his demonstration, Cleveland City Forester Dan Hartman conducted a walking tour of the campus trees.