Winterville Tree Commission Activities

  • Winterville Arbor Day 2020
  • The City of Winterville and the Winterville Tree Commission received the 2019 Georgia Tree Council Outstanding Community Grand Award. Credit: Georgia Tree Council
  • Labyrinth white oak. First Tree People entry highlighting important role trees play in our lives. Credit: Holly Campbell
  • 2019 Tree Talk on Autumn Fall Color Change. Credit: Holly Campbell
  • Georgia Tree Council Award
  • April 2019 Winterville Elementary tree activity. Seth Hawkins teaches 3rd graders about caring for the newly planted trees. Credit: Holly Campbell
  • 2019 Winterville Tree Tour. Dr. Scott Merkle explains how to identify oaks. Credit: Holly Campbell
  • 2019 Winterville Tree Tour. Dr. Scott Merkle displays tree ID characteristics of baldcypress. Credit: Holly Campbell
  • 2019 Winterville Tree Tour begins near City Hall. Credit: Holly Campbell
  • Arbor Day 2019 celebration. Credit: Holly Campbell
  • Arbor Day 2019 celebration. Planting a black gum tree in honor of Arbor Day. Credit: Holly Campbell
  • Winterville recognized as Tree City USA. Credit:Georgia Forestry Commission
  • MLK Day Winterville Elementary tree planting. Credit: Kenneth Storey
  • 2018 Winterville Arbor Day. Credit: Holly Campbell
  • 2018 Tree Tour. Art Morris of New Urban Forestry discusses tree health and growing requirements. Credit: Holly Campbell
  • 2018 Winterville Tree Tour. UGA Associate Professor, Eric MacDonald, discusses using goats for invasive plant removal while a local sheepherder, Jennif Chandler's, sheep provide a demonstration of invasive plant removal. Credit: Holly Campbell
  • 2018 Winterville Tree Tour. Speaker Gary Crider discusses safely utilizing herbicide to remove invasive plants. Credit: Holly Campbell
  • 2018 Marigold Festival tree benefits tag. Credit: Holly Campbell
  • 2018 Tree Talk. Gary Crider presenting. Credit: Holly Campbell

Winterville Tree Commission

Voting Members (Officers):

  • Brian Binder
  • Averil Bonsall
  • Bob Bonsall    (Treasurer)
  • Holly Campbell   (Chair)
  • Lea Clark     (Secretary)
  • Mateo Fennel
  • Dorset Trapnell


  • Tom Doonan        - Director, Public Works
  • Seth Hawkins      - SCFP Community Forester, Georgia Forestry Commission

Questions or interested to learn more?

Winterville Is A Tree City USA

Winterville Tree City USA® State Recognition

Winterville was one of 20 Georgia cities recognized as a Tree City USA during the state Arbor Day celebration in Duluth, February 7, 2019. Tree City USA provides the framework for community forestry management in cities and towns nationwide that meet certain requirements, including the establishment of a tree commission, a community tree ordinance, specific spending levels for urban forestry and planned Arbor Day celebrations. There are 155 Tree Cities USA in Georgia, and nearly 30 percent of the state's population lives in a Tree City. Nationwide, more than 3,400 Tree City USA communities serve as home to about 135 million Americans.

Photo Credit: Georgia Forestry Commission

What is Tree City USA?

The Tree City USA program is a nationwide movement that provides the framework necessary for communities to manage and expand their public trees since 1976. The Arbor Day Foundation manages the Tree City USA program.

More than 3,400 communities have made the commitment to becoming a Tree City USA. They have achieved Tree City USA status by meeting four core standards of sound urban forestry management:

  1. Maintaining a tree board or department
  2. Having a community tree ordinance
  3. Spending at least $2 per capita on urban forestry and
  4. Celebrating Arbor Day


City of Winterville and Tree Commission Win Georgia Tree Council Award

The Georgia Tree Council, a nonprofit organization with a mission of sustaining Georgia’s green legacy and maintaining Georgia's community forests, presented its 2019 Excellence in Urban Forestry Awards Program on November 7, 2019 at the annual Georgia Tree Council Conference in Stone Mountain Park.  In its 29th year, the annual awards program honors individuals and organizations for outstanding work in protecting and enhancing Georgia community forests. Award recipients received a framed print of a Georgia tree from artist Barry Nehr, commissioned for the Georgia Tree Council. The City of Winterville and the Winterville Tree Commission received the Outstanding Community Grand Award for 2019.

“The Winterville Tree Commission is to be commended for their outstanding work for raising awareness of the importance of community trees,” said Mary Lynne Beckley, Executive Director of the Georgia Tree Council. “In just a few short years, they have accomplished so much through education and advocacy to make sure that trees are understood as vital to their city.”

Five Tree Commission members were present to receive the award. Please check out the beautiful framed print at Winterville City Hall.



The Tree Commission has concluded all 2020 events. Please stay tuned for 2021 events.


Winterville Tree People is a new project the Commission initiated to highlight the special role that trees can play in our lives. Please enjoy the first Tree People entry below and let us know if you would like to share a story about your special tree.

The Labyrinth White Oak

White oaks (Quercus alba) have long symbolized peace and calmness. One special white oak in Winterville serves just this purpose for the homeowner, Jack, who caretakes it. The 100 foot tall, 4 foot diameter oak serves as the cornerstone of a labyrinth on Jack's property. The labyrinth's path is marked with stones and is used as an outdoor walking meditation, providing a literal path for mindfulness. Jack designed the labyrinth based on the oak's position, since the tree provides a focal point in the landscape. Jack shared the important role the oak plays in his life: "The tree guards over the landscape, reminding me that everything has a place and purpose in nature. The oak symbolizes something greater than myself." The white oak on Jack's property is a relic of the past, observing the many changes in Winterville over time. Now it provides a Winterville resident peace, calmness and beauty.

White Oak   a poem by: Jack Eisenman

Stand tall sovereign,

spread your arms,

shade pilgrims who

journey below.

Stand tall for

Those who walk

between the rocks,

who wind their way

toward life’s center,

who seek enlightenment

along the mystical path.


Webinar: Planting with a Purpose: Right Tree, Right Place, Right Objective
October 7, 2020

Click here to watch a recording of the webinar

Late fall to early spring (approximately December to February) is the best time to plant a tree.
For a long-lived and healthy tree, however, the most important steps in choosing the best yard
tree are (1) choosing the right species to match conditions in your yard, (2) preparing the site
for planting, and (3) proper planting. The Winterville Tree Commission invites you to this free,
online educational program about how best to choose a new yard tree. Speakers include Seth
Hawkins, Community Forester with the Georgia Forestry Commission, and Holly Campbell,
faculty member of the new Community Forestry and Arboriculture degree program at the UGA
Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources.


Tree Stewards: A New Volunteer Education Program

Community Informational Session on Program

January 27, 2020, at 6:30 p.m.Winterville Depot

With community interest, the Tree Commission will be starting a new tree care educational program in 2020, Tree Stewards.  Participants will take a short series of classes, including lecture and hands-on sessions, in exchange for providing tree care and educational volunteer hours back to the community, working with the Winterville City Arborist and Tree Commission.  The aim of this program is to develop a team of knowledgeable residents of our City, who will be able to assist other residents and the City with tree management.  The Tree Steward program will focus on a broad range of topics, including soil management, tree growth, tree identification, selecting the right tree for the right place, proper tree planting and maintenance techniques, and pruning.  Please let us know if you are interested. This is a work in progress.


Winterville Arbor Day Celebration

February 20, 2020, Winterville Elementary School

Tree planting and Tree City USA proclamation


November 2019 Tree Talk Presentation and Potluck: Autumn Leaf Color in Trees

The Winterville Tree Commission hosted the 2nd annual Tree Talk presentation at The Winterville Center for Community and Culture on November 14, 2019 from 6- 8PM.  Georgia Forestry Commission Community Forester, Seth Hawkins, discussed autumn leaf color change- why it happens, how it happens, and which trees have the most vivid color.  Seth reviewed the science of autumn leaf color change and detailed what trees homeowners can plant in their yards to get the autumn color they desire.  Winterville City Arborist, Roger Cauthen, and the Winterville Tree Commission was also on hand to answer questions about specific trees in the community. Some of you may remember the tree competition we had in the last Gazette issue, where one lucky participant received a prize if they identified the location of all the trees. Congratulations to Winterville resident, Cheryl LaValley, for winning this competition!

October 2019 Tree Care Volunteer Workday at Winterville Elementary

Thanks to the numerous volunteers who came out to the Winterville Elementary School workday on October 26, 2019 to help mulch and prune the 40+ new trees planted around the schoolyard in January.

April 2019 Winterville Tree Tour- Tree Identification

On April 27, 2019, approximately 65 participants enjoyed an educational walk in Winterville to learn about tree identification. Local expert, Dr. Scott Merkle, from the UGA Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, explained key identification characteristics of local trees to those in attendance. Participants observed bark, leaves, buds, twigs and more while learning to identify trees in the city square and Pittard Park. Some of the trees observed included baldcypress, several maples and oaks, persimmon, Eastern red cedar, deodar cedar, and much more. A raffle held at the beginning of the tour awarded several lucky participants trees and a tree identification book. Also, tree care publications were also available. The tour was organized by the Winterville Tree Commission, Georgia Forestry Commission, and City of Winterville. Please join us in 2020!



February 2019 Arbor Day Celebration

On February 20, 2019, thirty Winterville residents, Georgia Forestry Commission staff and Commemorative Tree Program donors convened along Main Street to celebrate Winterville Arbor Day and being a Tree City USA®. The Georgia Forestry Commission planted a black gum tree and the City Arborist, Roger Cauthen, honored the Commemorative Tree Program donors, who donated trees in honor of relatives and veterans of foreign wars. Over 35 trees were planted along Main Street in support of the Commemorative Tree Program. 


January 2019 MLK Day of Service Tree Planting at Winterville Elementary playground

Have you seen the new, beautiful trees at Winterville Elementary? On January 20, 2019, over 63 volunteers collectively worked 234 hours to plant 46 trees in and around the playground and schoolyard at Winterville Elementary. Working with the Georgia Forestry Commission (GFC), the school, Winterville Tree Commission, and the City of Winterville helped make this planting possible through the GFC Making the Shade grant, which provided $4940 to support the planting. The grant helps create much needed shade on Georgia school playgrounds. Caterpillar, Athens-Clarke County (ACC) Board of Education and Unified Government, City of Winterville, Winterville Community Garden, UGA, Keep ACC Beautiful, Golden Pantry, New Urban Forestry, and the broader community generously donated their time or resources to make this project a success.

Photo credit: Kenneth Storey

October 2018  Winterville Tree Talk Potluck and Presentation

This was a pot-luck dinner meeting that followed up on the invasive plant theme of the 2018 Tree Tour.  The program was introduced by Mayor Dodd Ferrelle.  Tom Doonan described our Commemorative Tree Program, and Bob Bonsall gave the first presentation to set the stage for talks by our invited experts, Lauren Muller (Athens Land Trust Invasive Plant Manager), Gary Crider (Invasive plant management expert), Joey Allen (State Botanical Garden Native Plant Garden curator), Seth Hawkins (Georgia Forestry Commission), and Roger Cauthen (City Arborist).

April 2018 Winterville Tree Tour- Invasive Plants in Your Landscape

This event focused on invasive plant awareness and management in our woodlands, and was held on the property of Jack Eisenman, who kindly offered the use of his woods for this event.  Information was presented at stops along the walk by three experts, and we had a demonstration of prescribed grazing by sheep. There were about 30 participants. The event was two hours long, and finished with a light reception and Q&A time.  Seth provided three trees for “door” prizes.  (This was held alongside the Athens Home and Garden Show, and we promoted it in and around Athens and Winterville with our own posters and outreach).


February 2018 Winterville Arbor Day Celebration

The February 2018 Arbor Day event included a tree planting and pruning demonstration, and presentation of the Winterville Tree City USA sign. About 15 people participated, including our Mayor and two City Council members, City Arborist, Tree Commission, Seth Hawkins and other Georgia Forestry Commission members, and city residents.  (A photo of this event appeared in the GFC 2019 planner, the Winterville Gazette, and the Marigold Festival Program).



WTC Links


Winterville Commemorative Tree Program: download this brochure (pdf)

Tree People Program (pdf)

Winterville Tree Commission - 2018 Achievements

Winterville Tree Ordinance 6.0 (PDF)

WTC Bylaws (PDF)

Meeting Minutes

City Gazette Articles



For help with invasive plant removal:  

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Georgia Forestry Commission:

Arbor Day Foundation:

Georgia Urban Forest Council:

Trees are Good:

Urban Forestry Toolkit: