Wes Hopper, Councilwoman Jamita Swearengen, Kim Halyak, Judi Shellabarger, and Scott Woods at the ceremony innaugurating the Cooper-Young Arboretum.

Wes Hopper, Councilwoman Jamita Swearengen, Kim Halyak, Judi Shellabarger, and Scott Woods at the ceremony innaugurating the Cooper-Young Arboretum.

By Judi Shellabarger

May was a busy month for the Cooper-Young Garden Club. We set a record with our annual Cooper Young Garden Walk, and we added a Level 3 arboretum to the neighborhood.

The Cooper-Young Arboretum project was developed to encourage community involvement within our own urban forest. We started this project in the fall of 2015 when four Cooper-Young neighbors decided to enroll in the Urban Forestry Advisors class at the Memphis Botanic Garden. Their hope was to create a Level 1 arboretum of 30 trees in the Cooper-Young neighborhood. With 102 tree species, they surpassed Level 1 and moved on to be the second Level 3 neighborhood arboretum in Memphis. This arboretum was accomplished with the help of the entire neighborhood.

The Cooper-Young Historic District Arboretum encompasses trees found in front yards, parks, businesses, and schools within our neighborhood. Our plan was to bring this arboretum to our neighborhood streets where residents and visitors walk, exercise, shop, dine, and socialize. Our desire is to add to our already beautiful canopy of trees, beautify our neighborhood, improve our air quality, and teach our children to love the beauty of nature.

We are now living in a tree museum. The Cooper-Young Historic District Arboretum will be supported by the Cooper-Young Garden Club and the Cooper-Young Community Beautification Committee. Residents have agreed to maintain and care for their trees listed in the arboretum. We have fantastic neighbors always willing to step up and help build our neighborhood.

We hope you will take time to notice the beauty of the older, native trees in our area. Watch the leaves of the cottonwood flutter on Evelyn and take note of its bark. Notice the fall beauty of the ginkgo on Oliver when the leaves are a bright yellow. We have unique trees in our neighborhood.

Take a walk in the neighborhood and look at our deodar cedar, incense cedar, trident maple, red mulberry, Carolina silverbell, or the many oaks. We are blessed to have such a diversity of tree species. We encourage our neighbors to plant some of these older, native species. Native trees attract birds, insects, and help our pollinators. They take in higher levels of carbon dioxide from our atmosphere than crape myrtles or other Asian species.

The Cooper Young Garden Club sponsors a yearly tree fund reimbursement program to add to the list of tree species. We hope neighbors will take advantage of this program. You do not have to be a member of the garden club or the CYCA. You do have to follow our guidelines and pick from a specific list of trees.

The Cooper-Young Historic Arboretum is free and open to the public daily. Pamphlets with a map may be picked up at the Cooper-Young Community Association office or online at cooperyoung.org

Information about Cooper-Young Historic District may be found at the following websites: cooperyounggardenclub.org, cooperyoung.org, cooperyoung.com.

Also follow us on Facebook: facebook.com/groups/CYArboretum, facebook.com/groups/CYgardenclub, facebook.com/CooperYoungGardenWalk

We greatly appreciate the assistance of the Memphis Botanic Garden Tree Team, Wes Hopper of Urban Forestry Tree Service, Urban Earth, and the Memphis City Tree Board. We also encourage neighbors to take the Urban Forestry classes provided by the Memphis Botanic Garden in September and October. The classes are every Wednesday morning from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. for 5 weeks. The cost is $85. For information and an application, please call Laurie Williams at the Memphis Botanic Garden 901-636-4128.

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