New license plate to support programs for trees

By Jessie Pounds
Nashville, TN (December 25, 2008)- A new specialty license plate honoring trees is now available for preorder. Sales of the plates, which bear the slogan “Trees make a difference,” will benefit the Tennessee Urban Forestry Council’s tree plantings and arboretum programs, as well as tree advocacy and education programs statewide. In turn, more trees would help curb carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere- levels that many scientists believe are contributing to global warming.

“We all know that automobiles can have an impact on the environment,” said Elizabeth Didier, a Knoxville-area resident and chair of the council’s public relations committee. “This is a way for people to contribute back.” Granted, it takes approximately 17 mature trees to absorb the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by a single car each year. That’s more trees and tree maintenance than could possibly be covered by the $17.50 that the council would receive from the sale of each plate.
Council Executive Director Jennifer Smith hopes to multiply the effect of the money by using some of it on advocacy and education work. Some examples of the organization’s outreach include promoting municipal tree ordinances and hosting the annual Urban Forestry Conference and Trade Show, held this year in Knoxville.
Smith also said money for the organization isn’t the only motivation for the license plate project. “Just the plate itself is a salute to our trees,” Smith said. “That in itself makes people think, ‘Well … how do trees make a difference?'”
She went on to cite shade, erosion control, storm-water management, habitat for wildlife and proven psychological benefits for humans as other examples of how urban trees can make a positive impact on communities like Knoxville.
Tree license plates can be ordered online at or by calling 615-352-8985. TUFC needs to presell 1,000 plates by June 30, 2009, for the state to manufacture them. If the organization doesn’t meet the quota, all money will be returned to donors, Smith said.
Related Resources:
Knoxville News- New license plate to support programs for trees