Oct. 1, 2021
Cooperative Extension Service receives urban forestry grant
The Cooperative Extension Service will put an urban and community forestry grant to work showing the benefits of low-impact, permeable parking lots in several locations throughout Arkansas.
By Ryan McGeeney
U of A System Division of Agriculture
- Grant funding will be used to establish low-impact parking lots in Mountain Home and Searcy
- Approach is designed to mitigate stormwater runoff
- Projects to be maintained by Master Gardeners, 4-H members and other volunteers
LITTLE ROCK — The Cooperative Extension Service will put an urban and community forestry grant to work showing the benefits of low-impact, permeable parking lots in several locations throughout Arkansas.
The Arkansas Department of Agriculture awarded the grant for more than $22,000 to John Pennington, extension water quality educator for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. In his grant proposal, Pennington made the case for using trees and paving-substitution materials that allow rainfall to permeate parking lots and infiltrate the underlying soils, rather than create additional stormwater runoff.
The grant application proposed two sites for the demonstrations, Mountain Home and Searcy.
“The extent of community forestry in Mountain Home and Searcy is seemingly strong but somewhat subdued over the previous year and a half due to COVID,” Pennington said in his grant application. “Neither community has a demonstration water quality feature composed of urban forestry and low impact development elements.”
According to the application’s narrative, the funding will be used to pay for trees, excavation, rain gardens and more. Interpretive signage will be used to help inform the public of the benefits of this kind of low-impact development approach.
“I am excited that the communities are supportive of this project, and thankful for their support in seeking the funding,” Pennington said. He said supporters included the mayors of both Mountain Home and Searcy, as well as members of the respective tree boards in each city, Cooperative Extension Service agents and Master Gardeners in each county.
The projects, once established, will be tended and maintained by volunteers from a variety of organizations, including members of the Master Gardeners and 4-H clubs in the participating counties, as well as members of Stream Team and Arkansas Watershed Stewards.
The sites will also be used in ongoing outreach and educational efforts, Pennington said, to promote sensible and effective urban stormwater management and the incorporation of urban forestry in in community and economic development.
The Cooperative Extension Service was one of four entities the Department of Agriculture selected to receive funding through urban and community forestry grants this year. The other recipients include the City of Goshen, the City of Walnut Ridge and Eureka Springs Parks and Recreation.
To learn about extension programs in Arkansas, contact your local Cooperative Extension Service agent or visit www.uaex.uada.edu. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @AR_Extension. To learn more about Division of Agriculture research, visit the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station website: https://aaes.uark.edu. Follow on Twitter at @ArkAgResearch. To learn more about the Division of Agriculture, visit https://uada.edu/. Follow us on Twitter at @AgInArk.
About the Division of Agriculture
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system.
The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.
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University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service