With the aid of an Arbor Day grant administered by the NYSUFC, the Town of Grand Island in Erie County held its first-ever Arbor Day Celebration on April 29, 2017. About 40 people attended, including Girl Scout Daisies and Brownies. Senior Girl Scout Gillian Worrall (second from left in front row of above pic) played a key role in organizing this Arbor Day celebration and in educating the community at large about Emerald Ash Borer, which has taken its toll on Grand Island.
The artwork of Sarah Werner, a fifth-grader at Warwick Valley Middle School, was selected as the official NYS 2017 Arbor Day poster after winning the statewide contest sponsored by NYSDEC. Sarah was honored at the State Capitol on March 29 as part of the State’s Arbor Day celebrations. Her artwork appears on the 2017 NYS Arbor Day Bookmark, which is being distributed to schools and libraries all over the State.
For three years, the Council has been administering Arbor Day grants that provide funding to communities who wanted to have their first-ever Arbor Day celebrations and begin to build their urban forestry programs. These grants have benefited 37 New York communities whose inaugural Arbor Day celebrations you can read about here on the blog.
What about those municipalities or non-profits that have established programs and want to kick things up a notch (or many notches)? Here, colleagues to the Northwest advise on how to make sponsorship of programs and events a reality. With its current population of 472,000, Surrey, BC would rank as the 37th largest city in the U.S. Their successes as a large city with sponsorship came via strategies that are translatable to smaller communities. First, have a look at how Surrey, BC put this into practice with their annual Party for the Planet, a day-long celebration for their equivalent of Arbor Day in the U.S.
On May 6, the Village of Champlain on the west shore of Lake Champlain in Clinton County held its first-ever Arbor Day Celebration with financial assistance from the NYSUFC. The Celebration kicked off a wave of the Village’s revitalization efforts centering on the playground, pavilion, basketball courts, and Village green. Five maple trees were planted on the Champlain Playground with the help of Girl Scouts and other volunteers. Community members participated in a Tree ID walk and heard from the high school outdoors club; the Girl Scouts read nature poetry; and children participated in arts and crafts in the nearby Champlain Meeting House. For a first-ever Arbor Day Celebration, it was very extensive!
The Village of Port Chester in the Town of Rye in Westchester County recently wrapped up its Arbor Day Kick-Off Event, funded in part by an Arbor Day Grant from the NYSUFC. Port Chester Mayor’s Office, Department of Public Works, and Department of Planning & Economic Development organized the replanting of trees on the median of Haines Boulevard where a monoculture of pin oaks had succumbed to oak wilt.
The grant from the NYSUFC helped pay for the 20 replacement trees, which include ornamental cherry and pear and Japanese maples. The smaller-stature trees are more suitable for the space they’re afforded in the median, and the flowering ones have the added benefit of providing beauty in spring. The Village diversified the planting palette to create more biodiversity that will help avoid tree losses from diseases and insects in the future.
In order to generate interest in the event, Village staff canvassed every property along Haines Boulevard to speak with residents and invite them to the Arbor Day Kick-Off. The Westmore News was invited to attend the event along with the Village of Port Chester Board of Trustees, Village Beautification Commission, and Village Parks Commission. Mayor Richard “Fritz” Falanka attended to say a few words about the event and help dig the first hole for the trees; Highway Department staff ably completed the task.
The event was a huge success, and has drummed up a lot of interest in beautification and the role of trees and landscaping in enhancing the aesthetics of the Village. The Village Board of Trustees has directed staff to take a more active approach in planting and replanting efforts throughout the Village. Further, the Village is soon to release an Owner’s Manual for Green Infrastructure, which will aid property owners and the Village in combining low-impact development efforts with planting practices that can better retain stormwater and reduce pressures on the Village’s gray infrastructure.
For the third consecutive year, the New York State Urban Forestry Council has partnered with the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation as the administrative and award mechanism for community Arbor Day grants (once known as “Quick Start” grants), providing a total of $10,000 in grant monies to conduct an Arbor Day tree planting program and ceremony. These grants may be up to $1,000 for communities to conduct a tree planting event on their Arbor Day. Applications are reviewed by a committee of Council board members by means of a competitive ranking review once the communities meet the grant requirements.
In 2015, 12 communities applied, and all 12 communities received a grant. In 2016, 35 communities applied, and 13 were granted funding. For 2017, 18 communities applied to the Council and the committee was able to award $10,810 in grant monies this year to 12 worthy communities.
Our congratulations to the communities that were selected for grants this year: the towns of Fishkill, Mt. Hope, Rush, and Grand Island; the villages of Lewiston, Port Chester, Champlain, Nunda, Attica, Fair Haven, and Cambridge; and the City of Niagara Falls. We look forward to doing blog posts about their successful Arbor Day celebrations and planting events.
Please congratulate anyone you know from those communities on their success and continue to encourage other communities to apply for the grant next year. Just remind them that they can’t already be a grant recipient, an Arbor Day Foundation Tree City USA, or have any parts of the process to become a Tree City (such as a tree inventory or a management plan). This is because the Arbor Day grants are meant to help inexperienced communities begin to get involved in the exciting world of urban forestry! And please don’t forget to thank our partners at the DEC for sharing this opportunity with the Council. We really do appreciate their support and trust. Enjoy the green all summer! —Brian Skinner, Council Vice President
The NYS Urban Forestry Council is pleased to announce available funding for small communities to have an Arbor Day tree planting event and to establish a community based forestry program. This funding has been provided by the USDA Forest Service and the NYS DEC Urban Forestry Program (and is NOT associated with the Arbor Day Foundation nor part of the NYS DEC EPF community grants program).
Grants of up to $1,000 will be awarded to communities or non-profits (that work in partnership with communities) to celebrate Arbor Day 2017 by both planting a tree (or trees) and forming a volunteer tree committee or tree board within the municipality. To be considered for a grant, please complete and return the enclosed application.
The intention of this grant is to help promote and establish a meaningful community forestry program. Ineligible for a grant are communities that are currently a Tree City USA, or those that have any component of the Tree City USA program such as a tree ordinance, tree board, inventory or management plan. Previous grant awardees are also ineligible.
Former Town of Ellington Councilwoman Tamara Miles led the Town’s Recreation Committee efforts to secure an Arbor Day grant from the NYSUFC and to host a lively Arbor Day celebration on April 30, 2016.
First, the Jamestown Audubon Society presented “Cavity Nesting Birds,” a talk connecting birds to native trees in the area. Then, DEC Forester Jeff Brockelbank led the community in a proper tree planting demo, and helped the residents plant a Kentucky coffeetree (Cladrastis kentukea) and two redbuds (Cercis canadensis). He also taught them about young tree pruning and proper mulching techniques. Master Gardener Carol Lorenc then presented on native plants and how to avoid invasive plants. All members of the Town Board were present to hand out native tree seedlings to community members.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) encourages the public to celebrate Arbor Day 2017 with their own personal artwork. The Arbor Day Planning Committee is accepting original art and photography submissions to be selected as the New York State Arbor Day Poster. DEC will be accepting them on behalf of the committee through December 31, 2016.
The Arbor Day Committee includes DEC, Empire State Forest Foundation, NYS Arborist Association, NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets, NYS Nursery and Landscape Association and the International Paper Company.
“Trees play a vital role in the lives of New Yorkers and are a fundamental part of our ecosystem, whether someone is tapping a maple tree in early spring or relaxing in the shade of a tree on a hot summer day, trees are integral to our quality of life,” DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said.
“It is important to celebrate Arbor Day throughout the year and highlight the importance of trees to our health, our environment, and our economy,” said Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard A. Ball.
The winning artwork will be replicated as the official 2017 New York State Arbor Day Poster and distributed at schools, libraries, government offices, nursery and landscaping businesses, and environmental organizations throughout the State. NYSDEC will print 100,000 posters for distribution to the 3,500 NYS schools, the NYS Fair, and other venues. To get past NYS Arbor Day posters, contact your local DEC forestry office or call 518-402-9425.
Village of Otisville Trustee and Park Commissioner Ike Palmer shared this account of his community’s planting and celebration in Veterans Memorial Park, funded in part by a NYSUFC Arbor Day grant.
Ike Palmer: First of all, I would like to thank the members of the NYSUFC Arbor Day Grant Committee for this generous grant and the opportunities it has afforded us for our Arbor Day event. Two new trees funded by the Council were planted: an ‘October Glory’ red maple and ‘Frans Fontaine’ European hornbeam. A blue spruce was donated by Rick and Linda Zgrodek in honor of the Otisville/Mount Hope Seniors. It’s Rick and Linda’s hope that the blue spruce will come to be used as the Village Christmas tree. Despite the dry summer, all three trees are faring well.