Mayor Madeline Rogero announced Thursday that the city has hired its first urban forester.
Kasey Krouse will start work with the Public Service Department on Dec. 3.
He is currently an urban forester with Davey Resource Group in Fort Wayne, Ind.
"I am very happy to welcome Kasey and his wife Beth to Knoxville," Mayor Rogero said in a press release. "His expertise will be invaluable as we work to protect and expand our urban canopy. Trees are crucial to our local ecology and to the quality of life for all Knoxvillians."
Mayor Rogero announced the creation of the position in her budget address earlier this year.
Krouse will be responsible for managing Knoxville's forestry program, which will include the care of trees on city property and planning for future tree planting.
He has a bachelor's degree in forestry from Purdue University and is a certified arborist/municipal specialist with the International Society of Arboriculture.
In his work with the Davey Resource Group, Krouse managed and conducted tree inventories and tree management plans for several cities.
"I am really looking forward to building on Knoxville's longstanding commitment to its tree program," Krouse said. "The City has a great, diverse stock of trees spread through its parks and green spaces and along roadways, and a strong tree plan in place for the future."
Knoxville has been recognized as a Tree City USA community by the Arbor Day Foundation for the past 21 years. The Tennessee Urban Forestry Council recently named the city's Tree Board the Tennessee Tree Board of the Year. As part of that honor, Knoxville will host the state's official Arbor Day celebration on March 1, 2013.
Mayor Rogero budgeted $50,000 for tree planting in the current fiscal year. Combined with an additional grant of $20,000 from Keep Knoxville Beautiful and the Lowe's Charitable and Educational Foundation and $19,200 from the Tennessee Agriculture Enhancement Program, the city will have funding to plant more than 500 trees across the city.