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Tree inventory to help devise management plan for Oconee Veterans Park

Dr. Allison Bailey, associate professor of environmental studies at University of North Georgia (second from left), works with UNG students and Oconee County community members spend Oct. 12 identifying and inventorying the trees in Oconee Veterans Park.

Dr. Allison Bailey, associate professor of environmental studies with the Lewis F. Rogers Institute for Environmental and Spatial Analysis at University of North Georgia (UNG), can barely believe the ripple effect of one class project.

In 2016, students in her environmental class fanned out across UNG's Gainesville Campus to identify and map the trees. The project evolved into students conducting a similar inventory on four UNG campuses and devising a plan with UNG's groundkeepers to care for and maintain the trees with a committee as part of the Arbor Day Foundation recommendations for college and university campuses.

The projects earned UNG the Tree Campus USA designations in 2016, 2017 and 2018. News about the student engagement on the Oconee Campus got the attention of Oconee County Parks and Recreation and Keep Oconee Clean and Beautiful.

"After discovering that 120 Sycamore trees are dying from blight in the parks, they asked for advice to promote better tree maintenance," Bailey said.

She, UNG students and members of the Oconee community spent Oct. 12-13 inventorying the trees in Oconee Veterans Park, using a geospatial app designed by Bailey. Next, Bailey will help Oconee Parks and Rec devise a plan to guide officials with their tree care and maintenance.

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