About 20 Tempe residents gathered Tuesday evening for a public meeting concerning the city’s urban forestry program. Aim of the meeting was to discuss future policies and procedures for managing Tempe’s trees and to allow the public to voice thoughts and opinion on how the process should be done.
Led by Dana Karcher, a licensed urban forestry specialist, the meeting was described as an open forum for citizens to develop a more thorough understanding of the benefits trees deliver to a community.
Such benefits, Karcher said, include reducing energy costs, improving property values and generally raising community character.
An associate of the long-tenured Davey Resource Group, Karcher asked participants to help her in a hands-on survey to see what issues were viewed as most and least important to them.
She also worked to stress the fact that trees can represent monetary value and prove to be valuable assets for their respective cities and states.
“Our long term goal is to establish a management plan,” Karcher said. “Kind of like a road map, in the way that there’s the first stop, then a second stop and so on; we want to help them figure out what activities they are going to do.”
The city of Tempe contacted the Davey Group in July, asking what opportunities there were to improve the city’s urban forestry program.
Since then Karcher has taken the lead by trying to reach out to the public about their thoughts. An online survey is available at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=sbtOvBTgqzUZJMXyrcXhwg_3d_3d.
The meeting went on for roughly two hours as residents posed questions and offered ideas involving different scenarios on how to get started, and various plans for developing a list of suitable actions.
Overall the feel for the meeting was open and encouraging for Karcher, she said.
“It was great to have people come out and give their input, and for the staff to support us and help with setting everything up,” said Karcher.