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Nashville Tree Foundation calls on artists to carve into ash trees hit by emerald ash borers

Ash trees in Nashville
Posted at 3:42 PM, Dec 30, 2021

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Maybe you've see the damage emerald ash borers are doing to ash trees in Tennessee. A 2022 art project hopes to bring more attention to the issue.

The Nashville Tree Foundation has picked nine ash trees in Davidson County to be sculpted by artists. The selected trees are in Cedar Hill Park, Centennial Park, Downtown Nashville, near the pedestrian bridge, Richland Park, Sevier Park, Shelby Park and Warner Parks.

"I'm a tree scientist and tree nut, so I always look for ways to get people's attention to capture their interest to tell them about trees," said Andrew Bell, executive director of Nashville Tree Foundation.

Bell was inspired by the Chicago Tree Project, which has been giving sick and dying ash trees a second life as a work of public art since 2014.

Bell wants the public to know that emerald ash borers are weakening trees and creating public safety issues.

"They can fall on your house, your car, your neighbor's house or car, or a person, and not everyone has $800 to $1,000 dollars to take down an ash tree. It's something a lot of people need to plan for," he said.

Ash trees comprise approximately 10% of Nashville’s total tree canopy.

Artists can apply to participate in the sculpture project through Jan. 15. Artists will be paid and have two weeks in the spring to complete their piece.