Dawson County celebrated Arbor Day on Friday, April 27 with a tree planting ceremony to recognize former Dawson County Commission Chairman Mike Berg as Tree Preservationist of the Year.
Clark MacAllister, county extension agent and advisor with the Dawson County Tree Preservation Committee, along with members of the tree committee, members of Keep Dawson County Beautiful and other members of the community were present at the ceremony in which a tree was dedicated to Berg.
The tree, an Overcup oak, was planted on a hill to the left of the veterans memorial at Veterans Memorial Park. An engraved stone sits at the base, honoring Berg for “maintaining the natural beauty of Dawson County.”
“We try to pick a Tree Preservationist of the Year to honor, someone who has devoted a lot of time to the county and hopefully trying to preserve the natural beauty of Dawson County,” MacAllister said. “Those of us who live here in the county or close by, (nature) is definitely a big draw as to why we live here.
“I can't really do justice to Mike and all he’s done for the county here.”
Berg spoke about the history of the Tree Preservation Committee and its origins during his time as chairman of the board of commissioners. Berg and his wife Jane also started the Keep Dawson County Beautiful group in 2003.
“We were getting to a point where we had development and we needed to have some line in the sand about what you could and couldn’t do,” Berg said. “Both these organizations do such a great job and I’m glad to be a part of it.”
Dawson County Chamber of Commerce President Christie Haynes said that Berg was a good steward of the county during his time on the commission.
“One thing I think that cannot be said enough about our former chairman, Mike Berg, is just the importance that he placed on being a good steward of what we have in our county. I think we all agree that we live in the most beautiful place we could,” Haynes said. “One thing I learned from day one with Mike is that we’re going to be a good steward of what we have so that future generations can enjoy it even more than we do. We appreciate the legacy that you’ve left.”
Berg is also a member of the Coosa North Georgia Regional Water Planning Council and serves as administrative chair, executive secretary and assistant governor of the Rotary Club of Dawson County as well as an assistant governor of Rotary district 6910.
He is the 11th recipient of the award since its inception in 2006. His wife was recognized with the same award in 2016.
The tree was donated by Kinsey Family Farms in Forsyth County, and the stone was engraved by Kenny Horah of Southern Sand Designs.
Keep Dawson County Beautiful is an affiliate of Keep America Beautiful and Keep Georgia Beautiful.
According to its website, Keep Dawson County Beautiful focuses on bringing meaningful change to our environment through quality of life services including litter prevention, solid waste planning and coordination, environmental education, beautification and conservation.
Members include Executive Director Robbie Irvin, Chair Paula Alicea, Vice Chair Kristi Hudson, Secretary Tiffany Davis, Berg, Louise McPherson and Sophia Dearwent.