Tennessee Groves is a program that provides citizens with a way to memorialize loved ones, commemorate special events and beautify the state. The program is a partnership between TDOT and the Tennessee Urban Forestry Council.
The first planting occurred on June 30th in a ceremony at which Governor Phil Bredesen, Transportation Commissioner Gerald Nicely and TDOT’s Region One HELP crew planted the first Tennessee Groves flowers in honor of Eddie Newcomb, a HELP Supervisor in Knoxville who died in May 2009.
Through Tennessee Groves, individuals or groups may purchase trees or flowers for planting at one of four Welcome Centers in the state: I-81 in Bristol, I-55 in Memphis, I-75 in Chattanooga and I-65 in Giles County south of Nashville beginning in the fall of 2009.
Each donor will receive a certificate denoting the type of tree or flower to be planted, the donor’s name and the name of the person or event being honored. Individual trees will not be labeled; however, the Tennessee Urban Forestry Council will inscribe the names of both the honorees and the donors in a book at each Tennessee Groves site. Trees will be planted each year between November and March which is the optimum time for tree planting.
Three types of plantings are available: shade trees, including sugar maples, red oaks and magnolias, are available for $275; flowering trees such as dogwoods and redbuds may be purchased for $150; and flowers, including daffodils, tulips and daylilies may be purchased for $25.
TDOT hopes to expand the program to more areas, such as state rest areas, in the future.
Tennessee Groves is a good alternative to roadside memorials. Placing a memorial along a busy roadway is dangerous to both the person placing the memorial and passing motorists. Tennessee Groves is a safe, lasting and legal way to honor and remember a loved one.
To purchase a tree or flowers visit the Tennessee Urban Forestry Council at: www.tufc.com.