NORMAN, Oklahoma - Norman is now one for four municipalities across the state with a city forester position, whose primary mission will be to protect and promote the tree canopy. 

Some of the oldest trees in city limits were planted by the University of Oklahoma’s first president, David Ross Boyd. 

“Norman has some old, beautiful historic trees,” Councilman Bill Hickman said. Norman is designated a “Tree City USA” by the Arbor Day Foundation.

Now, a new tree ordinance is in effect protecting trees in public rights of way, and many will require permission from the city before cutting them down.

“If the tree has to come down for some reason, now there will be a process for that tree to be replaced and replenished,” Hickman said.

And after this week's vote, a Norman forester will be looking over the city's saplings.

“They’re going to work with our business and development community, and we collaborated together with the business community to craft that tree ordinance and in the hiring of a forester so that we are working together to protect the trees but not inhibit development and business and also replacing those trees if they come down,” Hickman said.

Hickman says the pay and exact job description will be laid out under the new city manager taking office next month

The city council unanimously approved the position and that of a sustainability officer along with the annual budget June 11.

According to the city budget, “The Sustainability Coordinator is focused on efficient energy and environmentally-conscious practices throughout the City.”

“Trees bring a lot of quality of life to citizens and that’s what we hear in Norman,” Hickman said. “And that’s why we want to protect them.”