The value of trees in a community is often overshadowed by other aesthetic elements. However, many realized the impact trees have in city parks, neighborhoods and along streets following the May 2011 tornado that reduced Joplin’s urban forest by approximately 17,000 trees.
It also became increasingly important to analyze Joplin’s current greenways, and the existing trees’ conditions to nurture community greenspaces. To help accomplish this, the City partnered with the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) through their Tree Resource Improvement and Maintenance (TRIM) Grant for survey activities related to tree inventories focusing on parks, cemeteries, and other public areas. It was conducted over a three-year period, wrapping up in 2017.
This year, the TRIM grant added $10,000 to the City’s efforts of tree trimming on 1,747 trees in Dover Hill, Campbell Parkway, Landreth, McIndoe, McClelland, Iron Gates, Leonard, and Parr Hill Parks. Pruning young trees allows setting the structure of the tree for the future which reduces future structural problems that may lead to early tree failure, potential safety issues, and removal earlier in the trees life than necessary.
“We appreciate the Missouri Department of Conservation providing the resources for our work related to trees in Joplin,” said Jake Cowen with Parks and Recreation. “The tree survey was the first step in getting a snapshot of the health of our tree canopy. Following that work, we were able to focus on trimming a large number of trees. It’s an important and necessary step in tree care and will benefit our community with a stronger tree canopy in our parks.”
TRIM is a competitive, cost-share tree care program administered by the Missouri Department of Conservation in cooperation with the Missouri Community Forest Council. The program assists government agencies, public schools, and nonprofit groups with the management, improvement, or conservation of trees on public lands. Projects eligible for TRIM funding include tree inventory, removal or pruning of hazardous trees, tree planting, and training of volunteers and city/county employees to best care for our community forests.
The City of Joplin has received TRIM grants in the past for educational materials and conferences. This type of support is beneficial to the City in maintaining its Tree City USA status.