Taos Tree Board an asset for our trees and community

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As the Taos Tree Board enters its third year, new members were recommended and approved by the mayor and the town council on Aug. 22.

The new members are Kevin Clayton, Paul Kristie, KIneo Memmer, Mike Petree, Joan Pond and Brandi Suazo.

We want to thank the outgoing members for their time, ideas and their dedication toward new tree plants, Arbor Day celebrations and initiating a community tree care project, which will promote improved tree care throughout the town of Taos. They include Ben Wright, chairperson; Beth Enson, scribe; and board members Tony Valdez, Khaled Kweiss and Brandon Trujillo.

A little background: There are thousands of communities in the U.S. with tree boards, tree advisory commissions or tree advisory committees acting as advisory volunteer groups focusing on tree care, tree plantings and tree stewardship. The Taos Tree Board is made up of volunteers from many backgrounds: certified arborist, landscape architect, tree research professor, nursery owner/operator, long-term resident, artist, local tree advocates and students from Taos High School.

The Taos Tree Board has helped plant hundreds of trees, put on free pruning workshops and provided education to Taos public and private schools about trees and their care.

The board's meetings are quarterly and are held on the third Tuesday of the month. The public is welcome to attend.

The tree board's vision statement reads:

"The [Taos] Tree Board is dedicated to the enhancement and protection of the urban forest and other public green spaces in Taos. The vision of the Taos Tree Board is to support and promote Taos' Community Forest by acknowledging the major contributions that trees have on our everyday life such as public health and safety, increased economic and spiritual value, improved local food security, as well as climate change resiliency. By fostering a culture of collaboration and civic pride between both public and private stakeholders, the town and the Tree Board can prioritize educational outreach, predictive planning and proactive maintenance in hopes of better informing decisions related to public and private trees and the greater community tree canopy in Taos."

Currently, the Taos Tree Board has six goals:

• Grow a sustainable urban forest in the town of Taos.

• Increase collaboration with regional stakeholders.

• Increase education programs available to the public.

• Prioritize the creation of a heritage tree program.

• Connect with Taos' agricultural heritage.

• Establish a functional leadership structure for tree care decision-makers.

For more information, email taostreeboard@gmail.com.

Jones is an arborist, consulting arborist and adjunct teacher at the University of New Mexico-Taos.

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