Brentwood residents who are also history buffs or tree lovers are encouraged to apply for open positions on a couple of the city’s voluntary boards this month.
The Tree Board has four openings and the Historic Commission has six. The openings on the Tree Board are for two-year terms, while those on the Historic Commission are for three-year terms.
Applications are due Jan. 20.
The Tree Board is made up of 11 members — three city officials and eight residents. The board meets on the third Tuesday of every month at 7:30 a.m. in the city manager’s conference room at the Brentwood Municipal Center.
Lynn Tucker is the current chair of the Tree Board. She wants people to know that they don’t have be scientific wizards with Ph.D.’s in dendrology to join up.
“Really the only qualification that you need to be on the Tree Board is that you love trees. You love things that are green,” Tucker says. “That’s pretty much it.”
The board does have several highly qualified, technically-minded people who contribute a lot to what it does, she says, but it also has other people with less formal training. Like her.
“As the chair of the tree board I am not highly technically qualified. I’m a volunteer. I love trees. I’m pretty organized. That’s why I’m on there,” she says.
Tucker says that one of the main things Tree Board members do is help plan the city’s annual Arbor Day celebration.
“We’ve developed it into a really well-attended event at the library,” she says, with multiple vendors as well as popular poster, art and photography contests. The board also distributes 2,500 seedling trees to kids every year on Arbor Day.
The board also maintains the Deerwood Arboretum, as well as the arboretum next to the Brentwood Library. They make sure identification tags are in place on trees and look out for damaged trees.
Applicants should know beforehand that serving on the Tree Board does involve more than just sitting around talking about trees.
“Our board is truly a working board,” Tucker says. “We don’t meet once a month and just have a business meeting.”
It’s not all work, though. For Tucker, the Tree Board is also a good time.
“We have fun and we work,” she says. “It’s a good board to be on.”
The Historic Commission is composed of 12 members — two city officials and ten applicants who are Brentwood residents. The commission meets on the third Friday of each month at 10 a.m. at the Brentwood Municipal Center.
The mission statement of the commission is as follows: “To promote an awareness of Brentwood’s rich cultural history and heritage; enhance the quality of life through the preservation of historic sites, by providing educational programs and activities; and as a city appointed volunteer board, coordinate with the City of Brentwood and the Brentwood Planning Commission to accomplish these goals.”
The commission chair Anne Laine Goad makes the same point for potential applicants that Lynn Tucker made for the Tree Board. No professional experience is required.
“They don’t need to be a historian per se, but obviously an interest in history is desirable,” Goad says.
She points out the commission’s work on historical buildings in the area as one of its most important responsibilities. She specifically mentions the oversight work the commission was involved in during restoration of the Ravenswood mansion and the Boiling Springs Academy site.
Goad stresses that applicants don’t have to go way back in Brentwood to apply.
“They don’t have to be longtime Brentwood residents,” she says. “We have several people who are imports and who got interested in Brentwood when they moved here and wanted to know more.”
Goad has been on the commission for 20 years. She’s gotten a lot out of her years of service, which began when renowned Brentwood historian T. Vance Little still served on the commission.
“I’m kind of a history buff anyway and I especially enjoy it,” she says. “I never knew I’d put that history degree from college to work.”
Overall, she sees the commission’s work as coming down to one principle.
“We try to note the value of the past so people can appreciate it,” she says.
Deanna Lambert, the community relations director for the City of Brentwood, attends the commission meetings and has her own message to impart to potential applicants that deals with the importance of passing the past along to younger people.
“One of the biggest jobs before the Historic Commission is the challenge of getting our younger generations engaged in preserving history in Brentwood,” Lambert says. “If you have great ideas or interest in connecting young people and history, we need you.”
Brentwood residents interested in either board should submit their applications either in person to the Community Relations Director at the Brentwood Municipal Center, 5211 Maryland way, by mail to P.O. Box 788, Brentwood, TN 37024-0788, or online here.
Landon Woodroof covers the City of Brentwood and Nolensville for the Brentwood and Nolensville Home Pages. Email me at [email protected]