The City of Brentwood concluded their virtual Arbor Day celebration on Saturday with party, contest winners and the announcement of the new Brentwood's Best Ash contest.
The annual event is normally a one-day event but has been modified due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic which resulted in the cancelation of the 2020 Arbor Day event.
The celebration kicked off on Sunday, March 21, with a free seedling giveaway at the John P. Holt Brentwood Library, followed by a variety of events including Science/STEM Education Day and a plant swap.
Bentwood was recognized for the 31st year as a Tree City USA Award recipient, and one of their own, recently-retired Brentwood Police Department Assistant Chief Tommy Walsh, was honored with a tree planted in recognition of his service.
"Tommy has been a friend to many," Brentwood Vice Mayor Ken Travis said in the video. "This year the tree will be planted at our new police station."
"That's very important that your community is demonstrating and showing their commitment to taking care of our forest resources in our urban areas," Tennessee Urban and Community Forestry Program Coordinator Diane Warwick said. "I would like to congratulate you, especially during these difficult times, and we can get outside and we can socially distance. It's important for us to enjoy the environment and let those trees heal our minds and heal our bodies."
Brentwood Tree Board Chairperson Lynn Tucker announced the winners of the annual writing contest, with Brentwood High School student Emsley Meier winning first place and $125 for her poem, "My Truth."
Charlotte Landman was awarded second place, Amy Park was awarded third and Natasha Villaruz was an honorable mention.
This year's sponsors include Middle Tennessee Electric, Publix, Gardens of Babylon Landscapes and Bartlett Tree Experts, while Brentwood's Best Ash contest is sponsored by State Volunteer Mutual Insurance Company.
Sarah Harsh took first place in the coloring contest, while Lauren Blackwell won the acorn contest.
While the Arbor Day celebration lasted all week, the Tree Board is not done celebrating and protecting trees with the announcement of a new contest, Brentwood's Best Ash contest.
The contest helps to highlight the invasive Emerald Ash Borer by setting participants on a mission of locating and photographing ash trees so that they can be identified, maintained and preserved.
"The locations will go on our website with photos and specific locations that will help us with mapping ash trees, particularly those on public property," Tree Board member and City Commissioner Nelson Andrews said. "This will allow the City of Brentwood to have valuable information and know if a tree needs to be proactively treated or removed."
The contest will have two parts, a photo contest with a $1,000 first prize, and a $500 first place prize for the most mapped locations.
The virtual celebration can be viewed in full below.