By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – A city employee’s efforts to green Tupelo earned him statewide recognition this month.
David Knight, who helped start the municipal tree farm as part of his job with the Public Works Department, earned the annual reforesting award at the 2011 Statewide Celebration of Trees.
The Mississippi Urban Forest Council and the Mississippi Forestry Commission jointly sponsor the award.
“Mr. Knight was given special recognition for his work in local community forestry and green activities, including redevelopment and enhancement of the City of Tupelo Tree Farm,” according to a statement from the forest council. “Trees in our towns provide many benefits including economic enhancements, social benefits and aesthetic value.”
Knight several years ago had urged his department to restart the city’s defunct tree farm. Since then, he has raised roughly 3,500 trees that have been replanted throughout Tupelo’s parks, neighborhoods and rights of way. Knight also expanded the farm, located in south Tupelo, last year to accommodate even more saplings as well as a day lily patch.
The farm’s success has attracted attention from other communities, too, said Public Works Director Sid Russell. Representatives from across the state have toured the farm with plans to begin their own at home.
“Very few cities plant what we do in a year; we maintain a large planting,” Knight told the Daily Journal after winning his award. “It’s all about you walking out your front door and seeing trees instead of concrete and asphalt. It’s a big deal to me.”
The award came as a surprise to Knight, who said he didn’t know he was even under consideration until just before the ceremony.
Russell said had nominated Knight on the sly.
“We slipped it in on him,” Russell said. “It was well deserved.”
Contact Emily Le Coz at (662) 678-1588 or firstname.lastname@example.org.