By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Pembroke is Tree City, USA
Placeholder Image

The National Arbor Day Foundation might want to consider making Pembroke’s Tree City USA designation permanent.

The town in North Bryan was recently named a "Tree City" for the fifth consecutive year - and as any visitor to Pembroke knows, trees make up a large part of the town's peaceful atmosphere.

It’s not by accident, according to Pembroke Garden Club President Reta Willoughby. The city has worked with private groups such as the 22-member PGC to protect and plant trees for years.

"There is a priority here on preserving trees," she said. "They’re very important and there are a lot of benefits to them. You also can’t have a park without trees and shade."

But there wasn't always an emphasis on protecting trees. Pembroke Mayor Doris Cook said there was no tree ordinance in place when she took office in 2000.

"There wasn't anything to protect trees," she said. "Developers, anybody really, could come in and chop them down. Whenever John Butler worked for the city of Pembroke, one of the first tasks I asked him to do was prepare a tree ordnance for adoption. I didn't want to see all the trees cut down.We're not anti development, but youc an build aroudn trees.".

Nowadays, one of the town’s most cherished trees is a live oak that sits at centerpiece to Pembroke’s Memorial Park.

"Quite a few people sit up there in the summer and enjoy that big old shade tree," Willoughby said.

The oak is one of 133 trees the city has designated as Grand Protected Trees under its tree ordinance, which was adopted in 2003. .

The trees are marked with green tags and are scattered throughout the town. The majority appear to be live oaks, though there also are plenty of pecan trees, pine trees and a few magnolias included in a list provided by downtown coordinator Tonya Raulerson.

Cook said she remains passionate about protecting the city’s trees as growth and development spread northward. At present, more than half the city’s 4,500 acres remains as greenspace in one form or the other.

"I was raised in the country and this is the country," she said. "I hope we have enough ordinances in place to where we can work together for the good of the community and I’ll be honest. If I don’t think something’s good for the city, I won’t support it."

Cook said Pembroke is still in a good position to handle expected growth.

"We’re in the driver’s seat. Development has not reached us at a fast, fast pace. It’s going to be slow and that’s the way I like it.

Sign up for our E-Newsletters