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Press Release

29 October 2022 · 6 min. read

City of Chattanooga, Reflection Riding and EPB to Give Away 1,000 Free Trees

City of Chattanooga Residents and EPB Customers Eligible for Free Tree ReLeaf Program

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (Oct. 28, 2022) – Through a partnership between the City of Chattanooga, Reflection Riding Arboretum & Nature Center and EPB, City of Chattanooga residents and EPB customers can receive up to two free trees per household while the supply of 1,000 trees lasts. The goal of the effort is to enhance the community’s tree canopy so area residents can enjoy greater beauty and cleaner air along with the cooling and stormwater drainage benefits trees provide. Reflection Riding and the EPB Energy Pros are also providing expert guidance for selecting, planting and maintaining healthy trees including tips on the proper distance from power lines each variety of tree should be planted to help prevent future power outages and avoid costly maintenance.

“Chattanooga’s trees help us live up to our reputation as the ‘Scenic City,’ but a healthy tree ecology provides so many additional benefits,” said Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly. “Adding more trees through programs like Free Tree ReLeaf will make our city an even better place to live, improving our air quality and helping protect our waterways for future generations to enjoy.”

The health and environmental benefits of planting trees have a wide-ranging impact on communities:

“Through this program, EPB is joining with our customers to add trees across our community, so we can all enjoy their many benefits,” said David Wade, president & CEO, EPB. “Through our EPB Energy Pros, we’re also providing information about where to plant and how to maintain healthy trees, so customers don’t have to worry about future power outages, costly tree maintenance or the potential to obstruct solar panels as trees grow.”

Along with up to two free trees, customers will also receive customized expertise and resources, including:

  • Personalized advice from Reflection Riding staff and volunteers about which trees will thrive in specific zip codes.
  • Planting guides powered by EPB with best practices about how to plant and care for trees.
  • EPB Energy Pro advice about how and where to plant trees to avoid power lines and protect against future damage from falling limbs.

More information is also available at epb.com/free-tree-releaf/. Customers may also check tree inventory at the site but may not reserve trees.

“Thanks to the partnership of organizations like EPB and the City of Chattanooga, Reflection Riding can expand our focus on restoring and conserving the ecology of our area,” said Mark McKnight, president & CEO, Reflection Riding Arboretum & Nature Center. “Free Tree ReLeaf helps proliferate native plants that thrive in our region and introduce more people to a measurable way they can support nature.”

Ten varieties of native trees are available through Free Tree ReLeaf to eligible homes, chosen for their status as native plants and benefits to wildlife. Information about the ideal setting for each tree, planting guides and directions for care are available at epb.com/free-tree-releaf/.

  • American Holly (Ilex opaca)
  • Arrowwood Viburnum (Viburnum dentatum)
  • Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana)
  • Black Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis)
  • Bottlebrush Buckeye (Aesculus parviflora)
  • Southern Crabapple (Malus angustifolia)
  • Spicebush (Lindera benzoin)
  • Sweetbay Magnolia (Magnolia virginiana)
  • Wax Myrtle (Myrica cerifera)
  • Yaupon Holly (Ilex vomitoria)

The free tree program originally launched in 2020 as a partnership between the City of Chattanooga and Reflection Riding intended to improve stormwater drainage and water quality following the Easter tornadoes. Since then, the program has reduced the burden on the city’s stormwater system by preventing more than 7,600 gallons of water from entering it.

With the addition of EPB as a partner, all EPB Customers are now eligible to participate in the program.

The EPB Energy Pros provide free expertise and services that are available to all EPB customers including free EPB Home Energy Checkups which give customers personalized recommendations about the most cost-effective ways to make their homes healthier and more energy efficient.

EPB Energy Pros can also help customers plan solar installations, install EV chargers and make home energy renovations. They’ll even inspect the contractor’s work when the project is done to ensure optimal customer benefit. In addition, EPB Energy Pros are available for phone consultations on all home energy related topics from questions about tree planting and pruning, buying major appliances, what kind of insulation will provide the most cost-effective savings, and whether it’s time to buy a new hot water heater.

All of these services are available to both homeowners and renters at no charge to help them get the most value from the energy they use. Customers can call our EPB Energy Pros at 423-648-1372 or book an appointment at EPB.com/energypros.

About EPB

EPB serves the people of the Chattanooga area with advanced smart city infrastructure to enable world-class energy and connectivity solutions that include the most resilient smart grid power distribution system in the United States and the fastest internet in the world. EPB gained national notice when it deployed a community-wide fiber optic network accessible to all its customers and used it to launch America’s first Gig-speed internet in 2010 (beating Google Fiber by 4 years) as well as the first community-wide 10 Gig internet service available as a standard offer to all residences and businesses in 2015. Most recently, EPB launched America's first community-wide 25 Gig internet service, future-proofing the network's capacity and keeping Chattanooga on the cutting edge.

EPB also utilized the fiber optic network as the communications backbone for deploying more than 200,000 smart switches, sensors and other devices to establish the most advanced and highly automated smart grid in the nation. As a result, the U.S. Department of Energy named EPB a living laboratory for pioneering smart grid technologies. Since then, EPB has partnered with Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and more than 20 other national research partners to play a critical role in more than $155 million in smart city research. EPB was also the first major power distribution utility to earn the GBCI’s PEER certification for having a highly automated, modernized electric power grid in 2015 and followed up in 2021 by re-certifying at PEER Gold.

EPB is an independent board of the City of Chattanooga which began serving customers in 1939. Visit epb.com for more information.

About Reflection Riding

For more than 65 years, Reflection Riding Arboretum and Nature Center has been hard at work restoring the vital connection between people and nature. They believe that everyone should have the opportunity to experience nature, regardless of where they live or their economic status. We believe that when the benefits of the outdoors are accessible to everyone, Chattanooga becomes stronger and more connected.

Reflection Riding actively manages their 300-acre landscape to safeguard populations of imperiled plant and animal species. Their Native Plant Nursery is open to the public so people across the region can learn about and care for native plants in their yards and community landscapes. They partner with agencies and local governments to incorporate native plants in their outdoor projects. On-site, we teach habitat restoration workshops, offer a certificate in native plants in partnership with other local organizations and provide hands-on volunteer opportunities to remove invasive species and restore native plants.

Reflection Riding believes that all people deserve opportunities to learn in and appreciate the outdoors so they become lifelong champions for the natural world. Learn more at ReflectionRiding.org.

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