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Carolyn Follis 

The City of Brentwood and the Brentwood Tree Board awarded five residents a variety of prizes in their summer-long Brentwood’s Best Ash contest.

The contest had two parts —  a photography contest where participants were tasked with photographing ash trees, with submissions to be judged on artistic expression, originality, creativity and demonstration of the theme, Brentwood’s Best Ash, and a mapping contest of ash trees throughout the city, which challenged participants to log the location of as many ash trees as possible, with winners determined by the total number of unique locations submitted per entrant.

The city reported more than 270 contest entries which saw dozens of ash trees identified on private and public lands throughout the city.

“This contest and the data collected is important to the City of Brentwood. We will now use this information to add to the city’s tree canopy catalog. This will help us determine, if we begin to lose trees, the locations of other ash trees in the community,” City Commissioner and Tree Board member Ken Travis said in a news release. “This was ultimately an awareness campaign to help educate Brentwood about this invasive insect that will kill trees over time if left untreated.”

Carolyn Follis was awarded the grand prize in the photography contest which netted her $1,000.

“This is how we see ash trees, looking up at the tree and beautiful leaves with the blue sky peeping through,” Tree Board Chairperson Lynn Tucker said of the winning entry. “She captured the elegance of this basic tree in a beautiful, yet simple way.” 

“As a newcomer to this area, I was looking for ways to become involved in this wonderful community,” Follis said. “This contest was a fun way to immerse myself into the beauty in our area. My affinity for trees is one reason I relocated to Tennessee and the trees on our property drew us to make this our home.”

“Ash trees are good reminders, when needing a lift, look up,” Follis added.

Mary Rice was awarded second place in the photography contest for her two submissions of images of a popular ash tree located in Smith Park beside Ravenswood Mansion, winning a $500 prize.

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Mary Rice

“Judges loved both editions of this photo. This one in black and white surely says Brentwood,” Contest coordinator and Tree Board Member Brian Evans said. 

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Mary Rice

Rose Pierce was awarded third place in the photography contest with a submission of an image of an ash tree with two tree trunks where she was awarded a $250 prize.

Pierce was also awarded the first place prize in the mapping contest which earned her an additional $500 prize for her 65 location submissions.

“It was great to broaden my knowledge about tree identification and how to protect those trees at risk. I had fun exploring all the nooks and crannies in Brentwood and getting to know my hometown even better,” Pierce said. 

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Rose Pierce

James Owen was awarded second place where he earned a $200 prize for his 48 submissions, while Steve Johnson submitted 27 locations and was awarded third place and a $100 prize.

The contest was sponsored by State Volunteer Mutual Insurance Company who also donated the prize money.

All five winners have been invited to attend the Oct. 11 Brentwood City Commission meeting where prize checks will be presented.