Story and photos by Madelyn Williams / Contributing Writer
MoreTreeBoro is an organization created by Molly Taylor-Poleskey, assistant professor in the Department of History at Middle Tennessee State University.
The goal of this organization is to plant more trees and protect existing trees in Murfreesboro. This aids in both the beautification of the city as well as improving the quality of air by removing carbon dioxide.
Polesky’s interest in trees was sparked at a young age. Daughter of a landscape architect, she learned the direct correlation between parks and a healthy community.
“There are about 40 mature trees at a public housing development that are going to be raised from the landscape,” stated Taylor-Poleskey
This site is located near wetlands and the historical property of plantations at Oakland’s mansion. Some of the trees on this site are over 70 years old.
Flooding has dramatically impacted this area, and new developments in Murfreesboro are pushing more trees out as the city grows.
This group would love for students to get involved, and they plan to meet once a month.
Another way to get involved on campus would be to join Students for Environmental Action. This group meets Mondays at 10 a.m. in the Student Union Building.
To help address these issues, MoreTreesBoro will contact city counselors about tree-friendlier building regulations, post content on social media, provide education and awareness about mature trees that are valued in Murfreesboro, and many other partnerships and projects to come as the program expands.
“A lack of tree canopy leads to lots of health issues and higher death rates,” said Taylor-Poleskey.
Flooding and overheating are significant concerns in our city due to the vast amount of concrete and lack of forestry in many areas, especially low-income areas where there is often a lack of tree coverage.
As climate change impacts the globe, it is each city’s responsibility to address these issues better.
“The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago, and the second-best time is today.”
This popular quote mentioned by Taylor-Poleskey highlights the importance of taking action in this present moment rather than leaving it for future generations to tackle.
On-campus, MoreTreesBoro hopes to expand the arboretum offered at MTSU and plant more trees around campus. This would improve rainwater processing from tree roots and improve the air quality while also improving the aesthetics on campus.
“Objects that are parked in direct sun can be up to 45 degrees hotter than objects parked in the shade,” said Taylor-Poleskey.
This can affect MTSU parking lots as well as the stretches across campus that lack landscaping and trees. By planting more trees and potentially collaborating with the Department of Agriculture to push on-campus projects, temperatures across campus will decrease.
Project plans for tackling this at MTSU are in the works. By getting involved with this organization, students can bring project ideas and help advocate for more trees on campus.
“One of the things we learned through COVID-19 is that people have to get outside and have fresh air in order to be healthy, especially as we try to gather less inside,” said Taylor-Poleskey.
By raising awareness of these issues, Murfreesboro can be a much more eco-conscious city.
Kane Adams, assistant director of the Street Department for the City of Murfreesboro, described the many proactive steps Murfreesboro has taken to plant and preserve trees.
“The city has a landscape ordinance that supports the preservation of existing trees [and it] requires tree planting and shrub planting,” stated Adams.
One way students can get involved is by volunteering in the Stormwater program with the city of Murfreesboro. Murfreesboro Water Resources also host tree planting events. These events are often in partnership with MTSU.
“I think it would be really fun to help plant trees,” stated Maddie Depp, a freshman at MTSU.
Many students on campus are eager to get involved. By becoming involved with these projects, Murfreesboro and MTSU’s campus can be more eco-friendly.
“Anything removed on public property is replanted…[we] plant 50 to 90 trees a year,” said Adams.
The City of Murfreesboro wants to ensure that Murfreesboro remains a tree-friendly town. The Street Department is in the process of doing an urban tree canopy study as well as updating the tree inventory.
By raising awareness and taking these steps, Murfreesboro will be improved drastically. Carbon dioxide emissions will decrease, rainwater drainage will improve and mature trees that are prized in the city will be protected—each step taken matters, no matter how small it may seem.
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