GUEST BLOG – Scott Berta, President, Plant Newnan INC.

There is a saying that states “you don’t know you have a good thing until it’s gone.” In 30 seconds on March 26, 2021, we in Newnan lost everything good that we maybe never realized we had.

I am a forester by trade, and I have always appreciated the woods that I walked and the trees that I managed, but I never truly appreciated the mature oaks, pecans, dogwoods, pine, and I can honestly say the sweetgums (and nobody likes a sweetgum) that lined our streets and shaded our backyards. They were there when we all moved in, and not one of my neighbors would be old enough to recall when the area was still fields in the 1940s – and I have an aerial from 1942 to prove it! But last year’s tornado changed all that, and what is done is done. Now we must rebuild, and most importantly replant, to resurrect our lost canopy. Fortunately for our community, we have an incredible group of citizens who saw the need to begin planning for planting trees even before the trees that had fallen were cleaned up.

I have worked alongside the Georgia Forestry Commission for 20 years and they have always been an incredible resource for forestry needs. Once again, the GFC showed up hours after the storm to begin helping to clear roadways with their strike teams, and soon enough their urban foresters arrived to help ascertain the scale of the damage as well as recommend some paths forward to repair it. By the fall of 2021, Plant Newnan, INC was established with support from the City of Newnan and our board began formulating plans to begin the replanting efforts. GFC was with us in those meetings and just today, February 15, we unloaded 1200 three-gallon trees that will be planted back into the tornado-damaged areas – all because of the partnerships created between a local non-profit, a local municipality, and a state agency. Last week for Arbor Day, Plant Newnan donated 100 trees and established three plantings alongside the new multi-use path called the LINC. The GFC was out in force and helped us kick off our upcoming tree giveaways.

While we all work to recover and restore our own individual homes and yards, we can agree that trees are not ours to own as individuals. They are a resource for all and a tree we plant in our yard provides comfort, shade, and happiness for anyone who walks by and we will forever know the good thing we have.

Plant Newnan and The Georgia Forestry Commission understand the best time to plant a tree was yesterday. But by planting at least one tree today, we never have to regret tomorrow that a tree wasn’t planted yesterday.