Graduate students from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, are working in the Urban Forestry Program to create a management plan for the Collegedale Greenway.
According to Christina Clark, Parks and Recreation supervisor for the city of Collegedale, students will be working their way through the entire Greenway, beginning at Leyland Drive and ending at Tallant Road.
Because of the Greenway’s popularity with the community in Collegedale, Kirsten Ert, the city’s senior community planner, began discussing ways it could be improved with Sharon Jean-Phillippe, whom she serves with on the board of the Urban Forestry council.
Jean-Phillippe is a professor of urban forestry at the University of Tennessee and works with students in the Urban Forestry Program.
“During one board meeting, the two discussed the great things that Dr. Jean-Philippe is doing with her students and decided that Collegedale could use their insights to manage the vegetation along the greenway,” Clark said.
The Urban Forestry Program is offered by the University of Tennessee in the Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries. According to Clark, students in this program are required to log a certain amount of hours working in the field to graduate.
“For the cities who are participating in these projects, it results in valuable information about their urban forests. The goal is to prepare a greenway management plan that will help us fight erosion, the heat island effect, keep and support plant health and provide a solid wildlife habitat,” Clark said.
According to Clark, the city of Collegedale is hoping to reduce the need for mowing by adding native plants and wildflowers.
“We are hoping to learn how we can manage the greenway to keep it beautiful and functioning as a small eco-system,” Clark said.