The green team.
In 2013, Sandy Murray watched in horror as developers cut down 19 specimen oak trees on the property next door to her Brookhaven house. “It particularly bothered me when I found out that our brand new city didn’t have a tree ordinance,” she says. Her friend Karstin Bodell was also concerned and formed an informal group that later became the Brookhaven Tree Conservancy. The two women became the driving forces. When Murray attended a city council meeting and showed pictures of the stumps, others were equally alarmed, but it took a year to get an ordinance in place. “It had no enforcement,” she says. “Since trees provide beauty, oxygen and shade, and reduce rain runoff and prevent pollution and smog, I continued to nag the city council.” In 2019 they got support from Councilman John Park and Mayor John Ernst who told the group, “I want to look down at Brookhaven from the sky and see a green canopy.” A 2020 ordinance, written by Tree Canopy Conservation Manager Jeff Dadisman and arboriculturist India Woodson, included restrictions on cutting down specimen trees such as white and red oaks, elm, maple, hickory, etc.; notification about upcoming tree cuttings; rules on replacement trees; flexibility for builders and more, plus teeth for enforcing it. In June, Bodell, Murray and the members of the Brookhaven Conservancy celebrated the adoption of a sustainable tree ordinance.
For more information, visit brookhaventreeconservancy.org.
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