Program aims to promote health of local forests

LAWRENCEVILLE - Gwinnett Technical College has launched its Gwinnett Trees Count Web site, an online inventory of the college's urban forest campus that will serve as a resource for community residents and Gwinnett Tech students.

Gwinnett Trees Count provides a viewable, online inventory of about 880 trees - and about 90 different species - in the maintained areas of the college's 87-acre campus, according to a news release. To access the site, visit www.GwinnettTech.edu/horticulture and click Gwinnett Trees Count.

The college received funding for the project from the Georgia Forestry Commission's Urban & Community Forestry Grant Program to develop the campus tree inventory and educational Web site. The project is part of a statewide effort to enhance Georgia's community forests and build awareness of their positive impact.

On the site, identified trees are viewable against an aerial backdrop of the campus and are searchable by botanical and common name. Faculty, staff, students and community residents using the site and visiting the campus are able to see and touch trees that might be suitable for a particular home or commercial environment.

"We at Gwinnett Tech recognize the countless benefits of our community forests," President Sharon Bartels said. "We're pleased that, through the Georgia Forestry Commission's funding, we are able to share our campus environmental resources with the community as a whole."

The site will also serve as a teaching tool for students in Gwinnett Tech's horticulture program. The college offers an associate degree and diploma in environmental horticulture and certificate options in landscape design and horticulture installation.

"The site identifies the type of tree, in addition to statistics about its size and canopy," said Gail Zorn, Gwinnett Tech's campus horticulturist. "This information will serve as a guide to growth habit, helping the public to make wise planting choices and increasing the awareness of the value of trees to our community."

In total, more than $300,000 in funding was awarded to 30 projects in Georgia through the GFC's Urban & Community Forestry Grant Program last year. Gwinnett Tech received $8,855 in funding.