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Volunteers and Donors Create Trailside Tree Mural

The Jordan Creek Greenway in Springfield, Missouri, hosts creative art projects.

By Terry Whaley

Map of IMissouri

Springfield, Missouri now declares to have the largest outdoor mural in Missouri devoted to the subject of urban forestry and trees. Ozark Greenways and members of Springfield's Tree City U.S.A. Committee conceived the idea of a tree mural along the Jordan Creek Trail in 2004. Within two months funding for the first phase was in place with private donor contributions from the Community Foundation of the Ozarks and Ozark Greenways.

photo of tree mural
Tree mural along the Jordan Creek Greenway in Springfield, MO (click to enlarge)

Phase one was dedicated on Arbor Day, 2004, and with that success the second phase of the mural was funded and dedicated on Arbor Day 2005 with members of city council, park board, and Tree City U.S.A. Committee painting in the finial brush strokes.

Located along Jordan Creek Greenway one half of the mural depicts the aesthetics and scenic quality of trees in our community. The other half is designed to be educational in promoting native trees found in the Ozark forests of Missouri. Fun facts and trivia about trees are also incorporated into the mural design, which celebrates Springfield as a Tree City U.S.A.

Farley Lewis, the artist for the project readily admits that prior to this job he was unaware of the full value trees play in our lives. He also found great interest in the role trees have played in the community throughout history.

photo of mural with rural scene
Mural by Farley Lewis in Springfield, MO (click to enlarge)

The intent of the project was not only to make an unattractive bridge abutment more attractive, and incorporate public art along one of the community's trails but also to promote urban forestry and the importance of trees in our community.

The mural is 6-feet in height and displayed of two 50-foot long bridge abutments which each face the Jordan Park Trail. Tree plantings to accent and play off the mural are planned for this year and a third phase has been thought about as the high arching bridge supports have generated some creative thought as to the possibilities.

Cost of the mural was reduced by donations of paint, surface preparation by Ozark Greenways volunteers, and a considerable contribution by the artist. The entire project was privately funded and cost $7,000.

Terry Whaley is Executive Director of Ozark Greenways, Inc. in Springfield Missouri. The mission of Ozark Greenways is "Enhancing and Preserving the Ozark Natural Heritage for Public Use and Enjoyment." Terry's duties include promotion and education on linear parks, greenways, and trails. He is responsible for fund raising, acquisition of easements, trail design, trail development, and creating a land trust committee to work in preserving open space in Greene County.

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