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South Side to host opening of new Tree Streets state-certified arboretum

Tree Streets Aboretum



Tree Streets arboretum website

As the focal point of a new state-certified arboretum in the Tree Streets neighborhood, South Side School will host a grand opening of a new state-certified arboretum at 5 p.m. on Thursday, October 28.

The public is invited to join the arboretum’s partners – including the school, Southside Neighborhood Organization and the city of Johnson City – as Tennessee Urban Forestry Council’s Ashley Kite officially welcomes this 80-species neighborhood arboretum into the TUFC fold.

“We are thrilled to join in a project that provides so many learning opportunities for our students,” South Side Principal Kaytee Jones said. “Beyond the obvious science connection, visual arts, math and language arts can be incorporated into interactions with the arboretum.”

Thursday’s event next to Veterans Park will include a tree identification matching game allowing visitors to match a variety of trees with their leaves, fruits, seeds and other parts. Several tours will take visitors through sections of the arboretum.

“This arboretum is going to be a great asset to our neighborhood for years to come,” Southside Neighborhood Organization President Lynnea Salinas said. “We love our trees here in the Tree Streets, and I’m excited that neighbors and visitors will be able to walk our neighborhood and learn the identities of dozens of species.”

TUFC’s Kite said Northeast Tennessee’s first neighborhood arboretum will offer a particularly accessible way for many people to learn about trees and their benefits to people and the environment. And like two TUFC arboreta in established Memphis neighborhoods, this one is full of stories and opportunities for partnerships, she said. 

“People remember planting some of these trees and have special memories attached to them. That opens opportunities for the project to expand into storytelling and art. With an elementary school as its centerpiece and a university with its resources right next door, I expect this arboretum to become a rich part of Johnson City’s fabric.”

About the arboretum: The Tree Streets arboretum is a certified Level II (61-90 species) TUFC arboretum with 80 species. Its boundaries are Maple and Poplar streets on the north and south, and University Parkway and Roan Street on the west and east.

It includes a mix of native and non-native species that were inspected and certified by Johnson City’s urban forester Pat Walding and retired East Tennessee State University professor Tim McDowell.

Each designated tree has a sign identifying its scientific and common names as well as another feature about the species. The signs have QR codes linking to that tree’s individual page on the Tree Streets arboretum webpage, hosted by Plants Map. The homepage has an interactive map that identifies each tree’s location.


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