Photo by Leslie Seaton, Creative Commons
The City's Urban Forester, Alex Johnson, has a dry sense of humor, as in desert-dry, arid. And he's minced no words in expressing his frustration that the city continues to underfund (and by extension, undervalue) his department.
Durham needs to plant 1,600 trees each year just to keep up with the inevitable decay and death of the city's canopy (natural disasters, disease, accidents: The same things that kill people kill trees). Earlier this year, City Council, in responding to this grim news, suggested supplementing the department's efforts with volunteers.
OK, technically that's not impossible: A man in Jakarta spent 19 years planting trees to save his village from drought.
Johnson, obviously miffed at the powers-that-be's suggestion, wrote to the EAB in mid-August: "I’m still recovering from the shock of discovering that Council believes that I can fill the gaps in policy and resource allocation by appealing to church groups and Boy Scouts to pass the hat and roll up their sleeves.
"Had I but known, I wouldn’t have wasted my budgetary appeal last year on a mere trifle of a stump grinder and would have purchased a gross of child‐sized pick axes instead."
Johnson is scheduled to update the Environmental Affairs Board on the tree report tonight at 6.