April 1, 2023

The Society for Arboreal Longevity and Primordial Biodiversity Recognizes Chapel Hill as a Really Old Tree City USA® 

CHAPEL HILL, North Carolina (4/1/2023) – Chapel Hill was designated a 2023 Really Old Tree City USA® by the Society for Arboreal Longevity and Primordial Biodiversity (SALPB). SALPB botanists on scene to assess the Town’s stock of superannuated specimens report being “absolutely stunned” by the unprecedented concentration of hardwood, old growth forests in this most unlikely location.

“We had absolutely no idea a biodiversity hotspot was right under our noses,” exclaimed Professor Junius Wethers of North Carolina State University’s Agricultural Extension. “Quite frankly, we had written this area off for dead! We’ve been digging for clues to determine what exactly is feeding this anomaly. I mean… with less than 1% of old growth forests remaining in the eastern United States… it’s astounding to think that we could have missed this, if it weren’t for Chapel Hill’s other most abundant natural resource – citizen activists!”

Others on hand for the announcement were less impressed. Scotz, who asked to only be identified by his first name, is one of the Town’s younger residents. This forty-something with the scruffy beard appeared lost in thought as he gazed up at a tree.

After a long pause, and speaking just loud enough to be heard by me, “I dunno. I guess it just looks like a tree or something,” and after another long pause, “Is it even alive?”

It was one of those moments where, just as the words escaped his mouth, the whole world went absolutely silent. His last word echoed across the suburban yard until it seemed like it would never stop. “ALIVE…IVE…IVE…IVE….ive…ive…ve….e.

Slowly, heads turned, eyes dark, fists clenched. A palpable threat pulsed through the air. Where just moments earlier, the quarter-acre lot had been full of new life, bird song, squirrel chatter, and celebration, a feeling of dread descended upon us. An inconceivable thought flashed through my mind.

No, I thought. It can’t be. But as my panicked gaze darted from face to face, seeking a soft landing to erase the images flooding my mind, I locked eyes with Professor Wethers and a whisper,“Scottz…fertilizer.”

The Really Old Tree City USA® program is sponsored by the Society for Arboreal Longevity and Primordial Biodiversity, in partnership with the U.S. Hardwood, Old Growth Forest Service and the National Association of State Hardwood, Old Growth Foresters. Founded in 1984, the Society for Arboreal Longevity and Primordial Biodiversity has grown to become the largest nonprofit membership organization dedicated to protecting pockets of superannuated specimens, with more than one billion members, supporters and valued partners.

Since 1984, almost 6.5 trillion million Society for Arboreal Longevity and Primordial Biodiversity trees have been protected in medians, parking lots, right of ways, and suburban yards throughout the state.

Our vision is to lead toward a world where trees are used to block progress on issues critical to survival. As one of the county’s largest conservation foundations, the Society for Arboreal Longevity and Primordial Biodiversity, through its members, partners and programs, educates and weaponizes stakeholders and communities across the street to involve themselves in its mission of trees. More information is available at


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