Earth Week

On April 22, the City of Wilson will join the whole world in celebrating Earth Day. Actually, we have so much to celebrate in Wilson that we’re making it Earth Week – a time to highlight Wilson’s natural resources. We will showcase a few we are most proud of and encourage you to share what you’re celebrating this Earth Day.

Earth Day started as a grassroots movement in 1970, making this year the 46th observance. It’s a great time to think about environmental issues and make changes to protect our planet for the generations to come.

Some easy things anyone can do are plant trees and shrubs; recycle plastic, metal, and glass; or pick up trash at a local park or beach. We will share other ideas this week.
You might also try to conserve energy and water. Here are some tips:

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Rose-y Days Ahead

The beautiful Wilson Rose Garden, started in 1994 and featuring more than 150 varieties of roses, is located off Herring Avenue at the city’s Charles Pittman Operations Center. It is maintained by a group of volunteers called the Wilson Deadhead Society. It is starting to bloom now and will be delightful to eyes and noses from May to October.


Wilson Rose GardenThe garden has two events coming up — a rose care workshop, which will be Saturday, April 30, 10-11 a.m., and Sunday in the Rose Garden, Sunday, May 15, 2-4 p.m., which will feature entertainment, refreshments and art contests. Both events are free and open to the public.

Also, if you have time to help an hour a week this summer, join the Deadheaders. The group assigns rose beds based on how much time you can spare. The City Council honors the volunteers each year. If you want more information, call Matt Shaw at 399-2310 or email




Buckhorn Reservoir: A Wilson Treasure

The City of Wilson is blessed with an abundance of safe drinking water – one of the planet’s most rapidly disappearing natural resources. Many communities throughout the world are faced with the real possibility of life without a consistent, safe water supply. Closer to home in North Carolina, many rural communities also face aging infrastructure throughout the water system that will require significant investment.



Here in Wilson, our primary water supply is Buckhorn Reservoir, a 2,300-acre man-made lake with a capacity of almost 7 billion gallons when fully filled. Thirty years ago, Wilson leaders considered the challenge of ensuring safe, abundant drinking water for the community and made an investment in Wilson’s future that will be treasured for decades.

Investments have been consistently made in our water system, including removing all lead from service lines and meters delivering water to customers. In fact, Wilson was one of the first cities to move away from lead by purchasing no-lead water meters, and all remaining lead service lines were replaced 25 years ago.

Throughout the system, we take the utmost care and concern in delivering all customers the safest, cleanest water possible. Wilson’s water treatment plants are staffed 24/7, every day of the year, to monitor the water treatment process. All plant operators are certified, with most operators holding the highest-rated certification available. Water is tested continuously throughout the process to ensure each step exceeds state and federal standards, utilizing both state-of-the-art continuous automated monitoring equipment and by testing performed by highly trained operators.  Additionally, plant operators and certified distribution system personnel monitor the distribution system for leaks and water quality and are available 24 /7 for water emergencies.

We’re also proud that the City of Wilson has not had any water quality violations in over 30 years. Only 20 percent of North Carolina water systems serving more than 10,000 customers can claim that distinction.

Planning for the future is a tradition in the City of Wilson. We have a long history of creating the public infrastructure needed to serve residents.

Buckhorn Lake also offers a variety of recreational opportunities, including skiing, boating and fishing.

The City of Beautiful Trees

The City of Wilson is known as “The City of Beautiful Trees” with a representative stately oak tree on its City Seal.  The City of Wilson was the first North Carolina city to be awarded the “Tree City USA” in 1977.  The Planning and Revitalization Department continues to support the Wilson Appearance Commission and Tree Board which was established by ordinance in the 1970’s.  It continues to work with the North Carolina Urban Forestry Council, North Carolina Forest Service, City Arborist, Cemetery Board, and Parks Department on public tree inventories, tree plantings, and educational programs.

Downtown Walking Tour: A Self-Guided Tree Exploration

This self-guided walking tour highlights a few notable Wilson trees. This tour can take 30 minutes with a leisurely pace as one enjoys the charm of Historic Downtown Wilson. There are many Vollis Simpson Whirligigs along its path so walkers can enjoy the lovely built and natural environment, friendly people, shopping and dining.

Tree tour map


Educational Forest: A Self-Guided Nature Trail

The Educational Forest of Wilson is located at 515 Dendrology Drive with two self-guided nature trails to explore.

Loop A of Educational Forest in Wilson NC

Loop B of Educational Forest in Wilson NC


Planting Trees and Carbon Offsets

Duke Carbon Offsets Initiative (DCOI) at Duke University is supporting the City of Wilson’s efforts to plant and maintain trees through an innovative carbon offset model created by a partnership with North Carolina-based startup, Urban Offsets.

Urban Offsets matches schools with cities like Wilson, located 40-miles east of Raleigh, and provides them with services and software needed to scale local investments with proper monitoring and reporting. Duke students and faculty will also have access to the data gathered by Urban Offsets’ project in Wilson to integrate into research projects on community health and sustainability.

volunteers taking tree measurements for Urban Offsets, Wilson nc

With this program in place the City of Wilson has planted 50 trees – 20 Overcup Oak, 10 Maple Trees, 10 Pignut Hickory, 10 Tupelo – throughout Rest Haven Cemetery, Maplewood Cemetery, and the Educational Forest.  Wilson pledged to take care of these trees for four years.

In an effort to improve shade and air quality, expand wildlife habitat, and reduce stormwater and noise, cities have experimented with different approaches to tree programs. But, despite their many benefits, proper urban forestry has continued to provide only intangible benefits. Simply put, trees have been viewed as a drain on city budgets–until now. Wilson is the first city in the U.S. to generate carbon offsets from urban trees, and the first to transform those trees into financial assets.

You can read more about the Urban Offsets initiative in the Triad Business Journal.