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The original item was published from 7/2/2019 8:35:41 AM to 7/3/2019 3:47:22 PM.

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City of Hot Springs News Releases

Posted on: July 2, 2019

[ARCHIVED] City Urban Forester Allen Bates earns Arborist certification

1 - Allen Bates arboristThe City of Hot Springs now has two Arborists certified through the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) as Urban Forester Allen Bates earned his credentials this month.

Bates, who brought his vast experience to the City’s Urban Forestry division in January, is now ISA certified through June 30, 2020. He joins Freddy Padilla, also of the Urban Forestry crew, to hold this exclusive credential that “demonstrates…the knowledge and skills to properly care for trees, as well as a high level of dedication to your profession and your community,” according to A comprehensive exam must be passed to earn the certification, and a minimum of 30 continuing education credits must be earned during the three-year certification to maintain it.

“We are very pleased Allen Bates is part of our City of Hot Springs family. His knowledge and experience is critical to our goal of increasing our tree canopy and green space within the community. The Urban Forester position is a requirement for the city to maintain our status as a Tree City, USA municipality,” said Hot Springs City Manager Bill Burrough. “I congratulate Allen on his attainment of the ISA Certified Arborist credentials and know that even more great things are yet to come.”

Along with the extensive educational opportunities available now to Bates through the ISA, he is also thankful to be joining the international network of urban foresters. He is proud that Hot Springs is one of only four cities in Arkansas to have an urban forestry division, yet it could limit opportunities for nearby collaboration and knowledge sharing.

As a third-generation timber specialist, he was drawn to the position of urban forester for the City so that he could specialize in trees and forestry and continue to “learn more and more.”

“Trees do so much to improve our quality of life,” explained Bates. The more than 10,000 trees within the city provide oxygen and help clean our environment, manage storm water runoff, provide shade and lower electric bills. “Research even shows that looking out of a window at a tree lowers anxiety and stress, and improves your health.”

2 - Allen Bates arboristHis role includes diagnosis and prognosis of tree diseases, insect and tree risk management, nutrition and identification of trees. He also is responsible for overseeing landscaping plans on building permits and to approve completed projects based on the City’s codes. For every parking spot at a new construction site, developers must accrue 100 landscaping points as outlined in the Hot Springs Code Landscape Regulations. The highest number of points is awarded for retaining existing trees throughout a construction project. Next in points is addition of new canopy trees, followed by shrubbery and then by groundcovers or flowers. For more detailed information, visit

Looking ahead, Bates plans to update the City’s tree inventory, which was last done more than 15 years ago. He is anxious to see how far the City has come with tree quantity, health and diversity, and where the City is headed.

He also plans to initiate an interactive tree identification tagging system for certain species on the Hot Springs Creek Greenway Trail (HSGC) and other unique trees in the city. Users will be able to locate the trees online or can scan QR codes included on the tree tags to find out more about each of the trees. Included in will be the City’s two Eisenhower Green Ash that are near the Veterans Memorial on the HSGC. There is also a tree that come from a cutting on George Washington’s estate – a Tulip Popular – that is at the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts. Bates is also happy to have snagged the City an extremely rare Stern’s Medlar tree, which may be added to the HSGC. This species is only known to grow in a single 22-acre site in eastern Arkansas.

Bates was the first college student to earn a rodeo scholarship in Arkansas earned an Agricultural Education degree from Arkansas State University. His Ag-Ed background shined during his seven years as the Garland County horticulture agent through the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service. His responsivities were wide-ranging, and included education and consultation on turf, gardening, trees, and any other question or concern county citizens and organizations may have. He also oversaw the Garland County Master Gardeners, which was 225 strong. Prior to his work with the extension service, he spent more than 25 years as a production forester with Anthony Timberlands.

To find out more about the City of Hot Springs’ Urban Forestry Division, visit

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