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South Valley Journal

Meet Riverton City’s New Steward for the Trees

Jan 04, 2016 12:08PM ● By Bryan Scott

By Briana Kelley

South Valley - Patrick “Roman” Williams is Riverton City’s newest urban forester. He was hired late August following citizen and council member concerns over the growing plight of trees in the city. Williams was introduced to citizens during the Oct. 20 city council meeting. There he discussed his goals and duties as an urban forester 

In his presentation, Williams outlined aspiring goals, including creating a detailed city tree inventory of the thousands of trees in the city. He has already begun work in the Midas Creek area, where many trees pose a hazard to residents. 

“My goal is to ensure Riverton’s urban forest infrastructure for current and future generations,” Williams said. 

Williams also hopes to promote tree planting and care through community outreach and a long-term tree plan. 

“I am excited for the chance here to create an inventory and get the city and residents excited about this subject. Instead of being in the background, I want to answer questions and get people excited about trees and especially the urban forest. I want to turn this into something where residents can look around in years to come and notice positive changes,” Williams said.

According to data from the book “Growing Greener Cities” cited by Williams, a single tree provides $73 worth of air conditioning, $75 worth of erosion control, $50 worth of air pollution reduction and $75 worth of wildlife shelter annually. Williams stressed that an urban forest can help offset auto emissions and improve air quality. Trees filter air and water pollution naturally, provide shade, reduce energy bills and provide a lot of benefit to residents. 

Williams is a certified arborist from the International Society of Arboriculture. He has worked in the area for over 15 years, both in grounds crew and in a supervisory capacity. 

“He’s fantastic. I’m glad that we finally have someone that can really be the steward for our trees. Because we have a lot of stuff going on, now someone can just take care of those trees. As you saw in his presentation, the value of a tree and the value they bring to your community are important. No one was taking care of those for us so we are thrilled to have him,” Sheril Garn, Parks and Public Services director, said.