The City of Atlantic Beach highlighted its annual Arbor Day celebration on Jan. 18 with a heritage tree dedication at Johansen Park.
Arbor Day is observed annually in Atlantic Beach and throughout Florida on the third Friday of the month. The Atlantic Beach Arbor Day celebration is carried out in connection with the City’s annual application to renew its Tree City USA designation.
The City’s Environmental Stewardship Committee nominated a landmark 44-inch-diameter live oak tree at Johansen Park as a heritage tree, and the City Commission approved a resolution, accordingly, in January. According to the City of Atlantic Beach tree-protection code definitions, heritage trees on city-owned property (parks and rights-of-way) are “any tree determined by the City Commission to be of unique or intrinsic value due to its age, size, species, and/or cultural, ecological or historical significance or some other contribution to the city’s character, specifically including all cypress, live oak and magnolia trees with diameter 30 inches or greater.”
Although a heritage tree designation does not prevent a tree from ever being removed, it makes it more difficult and costly to remove. Protected trees must be mitigated at a rate of 1 inch for every 2 inches removed; a heritage tree must be mitigated at a rate of 1 inch for every inch removed.
The newly designated heritage tree is estimated to be 152 years old; it serves as a central landmark in Johansen Park, home to the annual Atlantic Beach Arts in the Park festival and other community events. This is the fourth tree to be designated by the City Commission as heritage trees; the others are on private property.
Atlantic Beach Environmental Stewardship Committee members who attended the 2019 Arbor Day celebration were, from left, Sarah Boren, Judith Leroux, Dawn Scott, Sarah Dark, Bruce Andrews and Amy Palmer.