Historic Natchez Trees project launched

Published 12:36 am Sunday, December 6, 2015

NATCHEZ — In Natchez, everyone has a story to tell — even the trees.

The Mississippi Urban Forest Council (MUFC) and the Historic Natchez Foundation (HNF) are hoping to unearth the stories of local trees through the Historic Natchez Trees Project for the Natchez Tricentennial.

MUFC and HNF are partnering to collect photographs and stories of historical trees throughout Natchez, including who planted the trees and why they were planted.

It’s less about the trees and more about the people whose stories can be told by the trees that inspired the project, MUFC Executive Director Donna Yowell said.

“I love Natchez,” Yowell said. “Natchez has such an interesting history, and every time I come here I am always looking at the landscape.

“We want to make it about the people of Natchez and the stories of Natchez and the history,” Yowell said.

Documenting trees and their stories could also boost ecotourism for Natchez, Yowell said. Ecotourism is directed toward tourism experiences that involve natural environments and wildlife.

“It’s just another layer of the really interesting history of Natchez, and history is a big part of the tourism in Natchez,” she said.

The information, photographs and locations of trees could be used to create tree tours for tourists, Historic Natchez Foundation Executive Director Mimi Miller said.

Yowell and Miller said they are also hoping to compile the information collected through the trees project into a publication, perhaps a coffee table book.

Miller said a 175-year-old magnolia tree that sits on the property of Melrose that has a story would be a good example of a tree that could be included in the project.

“There’s even a letter from the antebellum period where Mrs. McMurran writes that her husband planted it for her,” Miller said.

The information for the tree could include broader information about Melrose, Miller said, allowing the tree to tell a larger story about the property.

Submissions for the tree project should be made through HNF. Photographs and information about trees can be dropped off at HNF at 108 S. Commerce St. or emailed to hnf@natchez.org.

For more information, contact Miller or HNF Deputy Director Trevor Brown at 442-2500.