FletcherBright
Fletcher Bright talkins about the river birch tree. © The Nature Conservancy.

Stories in Tennessee

If Trees Could Sing: Fletcher Bright & the River Birch

Fletcher Bright talks about the river birch and the benefits that trees provide.

Fletcher Bright

Fletcher Bright was a Chattanooga-area bluegrass institution. He passed away peacefully on Christmas Day 2017 at age 86. But in 2014 he filmed this wonderful video with The Nature Conservancy. He had been playing fiddle for more than 70 years at that point. He led two bands: The Dismembered Tennesseans and The Fletcher Bright Fiddle Band. Fletcher founded the popular 3 Sisters Bluegrass Festival in Chattanooga in 2007, and it has been going strong ever since. In 2017, he was honored with the Distinguished Achievement Award from the International Bluegrass Music Association. Outside of his music career, Fletcher was also the CEO of the Fletcher Bright Company, a successful real estate firm.

Fletcher Bright Fletcher Bright talks about the river birch for The Nature Conservancy's "If Trees Could Sing" video series.

River Birch Facts

  • Scientific name: Betula nigra
  • Range: the Southeast, Missouri through Georgia
  • Height: up to 80 ft.
  • Distinguishing feature: thin brown bark that peels away
  • Fall colors: yellow

You Can Take Care of Trees Like the River Birch

  • Plant in late fall or winter when the tree is dormant, unless the ground is frozen. 
  • Allow plenty of room for the tree to mature and grow.
  • Water it regularly in the its first three years.
  • Spread mulch around the base of the tree. 

Mighty Cool Tree Fact

Did you know... trees reduce people's asthma in cities because of all the air pollution they absorb?