NYSUFC Partners with NYSDEC to Award Arbor Day Project Grants

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Otisville, NY Garden Club members planted this red maple and other trees as part of the Village’s 2016 Arbor Day celebration, which was supported by an Arbor Day grant from the New York State Urban Forestry Council.   

Communities that are just getting their urban forestry programs up and running, take note of this grant opportunity! In future posts, we’ll highlight some of the 2016 celebrations from grant-recipient communities. Stay tuned to the TAKING ROOT monthly e-news to find out when the next round of Arbor Day grant applications opens for 2017 tree plantings/celebrations. 

From Brian Skinner, Council Vice President:

For the second year, the NYSUFC partnered with the NYSDEC in taking on the administrative and award mechanism for Arbor Day grants (previously known as “Quick Start” AD grants), providing up to $10,000 total in grant monies for communities to conduct 2016 Arbor Day tree planting programs and ceremonies.

Communities that apply and those that are successful are not burdened with the paper mountains, contracts, forms, times delays, etc. that are typical of the much larger State grants. These are Arbor Day grants of up to $1,000 per community to conduct a tree planting event. Since they are meant to assist communities just getting started in their urban forestry efforts, applicants cannot be an existing Tree City USA community or have an ordinance, master plan, or have gotten the grant previously. Simple, less paper, quick turn-around, 50% of your funds up front, simple documentation, only one or two people to deal with, questions answered quickly and directly … a grant writer’s dream!

In 2015, 12 communities from around the State applied, and because some did not request the full $1,000 for their AD projects, the Council was able to award all 12 communities a grant. Word of the simplicity, ease, and success of the process must have spread, because in 2016, 35 communities applied, making the Arbor Day project grants committee work much more difficult and challenging. Council volunteers reviewed the applications and associated documentation and narrowed down the applicants (very tough competition, by the way!), eventually selecting 13 communities to receive a part of the grant funding. Due to some leftover funding from last year and some additional outside funding that was made available for such programmed events, the committee was able to award over $11,400 in grant requests this year.

Our congratulations to all the communities that were selected for grants this year: the towns of Alden, Ellington, Naples, North Greenbush, Pound Ridge, and Unionvale; the villages of Dansville, Orchard Park, Otisville, Perry, and Tivoli; and Friends of Parish (Parish) and Friends of Washington Park (Troy). Please congratulate anyone you know from those communities on their success and continue to encourage other communities to apply next year. And don’t forget to thank the DEC for partnering with the Council for this! Little steps such as this encourage participating communities to look at their trees now with a goal of becoming an Arbor Day Foundation Tree City USA, which in itself has a whole different set of requirements … and we know they’re all up to that challenge.

 

 

NYC Arbor Day Project, with Youth Growing & Planting 234 Trees

 

Magella Owen and Rajesh from HS of American Studies at Lehman College. by Anthony Thoman
Students from the High School of American Studies at Lehman College in the Bronx plant an evergreen on campus. The students are left to right: Magella Sheehan, Owen McFadzean, and Rajesh Persad. Photo by Anthony Thoman

Due to spring holidays, schools in New York City adopted May 6th as NYC Arbor Day. On that Friday last spring, most of the 59 participating schools planted their trees, which included flowering dogwoods, redbuds, wild cherries, maples, Colorado spruces, red oaks, black walnuts, river birches, honey locusts and black pines. Also planting were Urban Park Rangers at Inwood Hill Park, which is part of NYC Parks & Recreation.

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Kindergartners in Pat Evens’s class at PS 174 in Queens plant a redbud tree they named Sophia. Photo by Pat Evens

The total number of trees planted was 234, which had been grown to size and carefully tended by students and teachers at John Bowne High School in Flushing, Queens. Students at Bowne participate in the Plant Science and Animal Science programs at this high school. The tree nursery is part of a small farm that is also home to animals, greenhouses, an orchard, and vegetable planting beds.

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Fifth Grader Maheen Naqvi Creates “Un-Fir-Gettable” Arbor Day Poster

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Maheen Naqvi and family at last March’s DEC-hosted awards ceremony. 

The DEC’s Arbor Day celebration recognized the artwork of DEC’s children’s poster contest winner, Maheen Naqvi, 5th Grader from Dutch Lane Elementary School, Hicksville, Nassau County. The theme of this year’s children’s artwork was “New York’s Un-Fir-Gettable Forests.” Over 2,000 students participated in the poster contest event from schools across the state this year. Being chosen from among so many participants is a significant achievement! Congratulations to Maheen and family. You can see some past winning posters here.

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Maheen’s winning poster

 

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Winning fifth-grade artist Maheen Naqvi autographed bookmarks and posters for attendees of the Arbor Day awards. 

Warwick’s Grant-Funded Arbor Day Celebration

Warwick Arbor Day poster contestants with their artwork.
Warwick Arbor Day poster contestants with their artwork.

NYSUFC Board Member Karen Emmerich serves on the Warwick Town Tree Commission. Here she shares the Town’s 2015 Arbor Day celebration and activities, supported by an Arbor Day grant of $1000 from the Council (stay tuned to Taking Root e-news for information about the next round of grants) and $500 from ACTrees. 

Contest poster winner Sarah Davis with her winning entry.
Contest poster winner Sarah Davis with her  entry.

Karen Emmerich:

In 2015, Warwick held its first-ever Arbor Day poster contest. Patti O’Connor, a 5th Grade teacher in Warwick who is also on the Town’s tree commission, coordinated the effort at the middle school. We had 15 participants, and Sarah Davis’s poster was chosen by a committee of teachers as the representative poster to forward to the State contest. We held an artists’ reception at the Town Hall at the beginning of April, and the posters were on display throughout the month. All the artists received a “Trees are Cool” button, and contest winner Sarah received a pack of tree ID playing cards.

We held an Arbor Day celebration at the Town’s new dog park, where we planted four trees: a tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica), eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis), red oak (Quercus rubra) and Princeton elm (Ulmus ‘Princeton’). Members of the town board, the DPW supervisor, the town judge, and assorted citizens all attended the ceremony on what was a clear but cold, blustery day. After the DPW supervisor read the proclamation, one of our tree commissioners, Matt Doiron, spoke about the importance of trees in our lives. Matt is a forester with NYC Parks and has many years of experience in the field of urban forestry. We’re lucky to have him!

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Arbor Day Celebration: Utica

Ruth Meier, a Master Gardener from the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oneida County assists student volunteers from the Notre Dame High School NJROTC with properly planting and mulching one of 20 katsuras that will help restore the Olmsted-designed tree canopy in Utica's FT Proctor Park. (photo (c) 2015 Roger B. Smith)
Ruth Meier, a Master Gardener from the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oneida County assists student volunteers from the Notre Dame High School NJROTC with properly planting and mulching one of 20 bare root katsuras that will help restore the Olmsted-designed tree canopy in Utica’s FT Proctor Park. (photo (c) 2015 Roger B. Smith)

Arbor Day was celebrated on Friday, April 24, and the Central New York Conservancy celebrated it in style with the City of Utica!

The 3-day weekend event honored the spirit of Arbor Day, with local tree experts donating their time and talent to remove and prune trees, two lectures about safety procedures when working around trees and proper pruning, the planting of numerous trees, and a ceremonial tree planting in FT Proctor Park. All events were free and open to the public.

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The Red Hook Way, Part I: Stellar Tree Commission

by Brenda Cagle, Red Hook Councilwoman

Q: What do you call a highly functioning, well-informed, enthusiastic tree Committee? 
A: The Town of Red Hook Tree Commission (TC)

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The Red Hook Tree Commission worked with young community volunteers on planting at the Town of Red Hook Recreation Park. They renovated five tree lawns with 17 new trees. The Boy Scouts and the Linden Avenue Middle School environmental club, WHO CARES, helped plant. Photos Courtesy Red Hook Tree Commission

~Background~
This amazing group of seven people is “doing it by the book” and more. Led by chairperson Nancy Guski, a retired elementary school teacher, the committee is comprised of a landscape professional, a former planning board member, another retired teacher, two retired dentists, and a nature lover and eagle expert. All participate according to their talents and time but the key is that they ALL participate.

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A Perennially Joyful Urban Forestry Recognition Ceremony

Red Hook's Brent Kovalchik and Frances Uku
(left to right) NYS DEC Urban Forestry Program Assistant Sally Kellogg with the Village of Red Hook’s Deputy Mayor Brent Kovalchik and Village Green Committee member Frances Uku. The Village has been a Tree City USA for 14 years.

The 9th annual Tree City/Line/Campus USA Recognition Ceremony was held on March 26, 2015 in Albany where over 40 communities were in attendance including the longest-running Tree City USA, Poughkeepsie NY, represented by Tree Committee member Virginia Hancock.

New York State has 110 Tree City USAs, 6 Tree Line USA utilities, and 14 Tree Campus USAs. These programs were created by the Arbor Day Foundation and the National Association of State Foresters to recognize the stewardship of urban forests by communities.

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Congrats, St. John’s University, on entering your 4th year as a Tree Campus USA!

Tree City USA is a program that provides direction, technical assistance, public attention and national recognition for urban and community forestry programs in thousands of towns and cities that more than 93 million Americans call home. A complete list of all communities is posted on DEC’s website at: http://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/5272.html.

Speakers for the March event included organizations from USFS, Cazenovia College, and NYS DEC, the NYS DEC Commissioner Joe Martens was also in attendance of the event and showed his support of the programs.

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Congrats to winning Arbor Day poster artist Nayeon Park, here with her brother and mother and State Urban Forestry Coordinator Mary Kramarchyk (left) and Program Assistant Sally Kellogg (right)

2015bookmarkThe Department also recognized the 2015 DEC Arbor Day Poster Contest winner Nayeon Park, a 5th Grader from P.S. 209 Clearview Gardens School in Whitestone, Queens, New York. The theme of this year’s children’s artwork was Tree-Mendous Trees of New York. Read on for more pics from the event.

 

 

 

 

 

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Nina Bassuk Receives Frederick Law Olmsted Award from Arbor Day Foundation

RELEAF 255Last fall, the NYSUFC nominated beloved Cornell Urban Horticulture Institute (UHI) Director and longtime former Council President Nina Bassuk for the Arbor Day Foundation’s Frederick Law Olmsted Award. Current Council President Andy Hillman read the award description and said, “This appears to have been written for Nina!”

The Frederick Law Olmsted award recognizes an outstanding individual with a lifelong commitment to tree planting and conservation at a state or regional level. Further, it honors someone who: shows outstanding personal commitment over their career or lifetime for the betterment of the environment, mobilizes people in tree planting and care, makes unique or extraordinary contributions and commitment with regards to tree planting, landscape, conservation, education, or research, and serves as a role model and mentor to others.

The Council is so very pleased to announce that Nina received the Frederick Law Olmsted Award for 2015. Here is a video the Arbor Day Foundation made about Nina’s work that shows why she was the perfect candidate:

It was challenging to summarize Nina’s accomplishments in the three pages indicated by the award nomination guidelines. Here are some highlights:

  • Thanks to Dr. Bassuk’s research and extension efforts in bare root transplanting technology, tens of thousands of trees have been planted in New York and the greater Northeast that would otherwise not have been. In 2014 alone, 8800 bare root trees were purchased by 93 municipalities across 11 states from Schichtel’s Nursery in Western NY.
  • Dr. Bassuk has been the City of Ithaca Shade Tree Advisory Committee Chair since 1985, and she served on the Ithaca Parks Commission from 1991-2003. She served as the President of the NYS Urban Forestry Council from 1990-2001 and thereafter as a Board Member.

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Ten Ways to Make Arbor Day a True Community Event

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Thoughts turn to Arbor Day as the NYSUFC recently awarded Quick Start Grants of up to $1000 each to 12 New York communities or non-profits that want to work in partnership with municipalities to celebrate Arbor Day 2015 and form a shade tree committee.

The recipients of the grants are Village of Fort Plain/Town of Minden, Village of Brightwaters, City of Peekskill, Town of Lorraine, City of Utica, Village of Bayville, Town of Chester, Town of Warwick, Town of Owasco, Village of Hillburn, Village of Trumansburg, Village of Kinderhook. Congratulations! We look forward to hearing about your celebrations and fledgling (sapling?) shade tree committees.

In the meantime, here are “Ten Ways to Make Arbor Day a True Community Event.” This comes from Jennifer Milbrandt, coordinator of natural resources in Strongsville, Ohio, with photos by Peggy Thompson. The ideas here are so good, they bear sharing (don’t miss #7).

Please share your most creative forms of Arbor Day celebration for a future New York-centric post; kindly send brief description and photos to takingrooteditor@gmail.com.

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Arbor Day in the North Country

By Tim Chick, NYSUFC Board Member, Town of Lake Placid Tree Board Member, Paul Smith’s adjunct professor

Photos by Sally Kellogg, DEC Urban Forestry Program Assistant

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(left to right) Kris Alberga, NYS DEC; Craig H. Randall, Village of Lake Placid Mayor; Tim Chick, Town of Lake Placid Tree Board Member, Paul Smith’s adjunct professor

On May 14, 2014 the Lake Placid/North Elba Tree Board held its 13th annual Arbor Day ceremony. The program was held in Peacock Park on the shores of Mirror Lake under a beautiful sunny sky. Although the Weather Channel predicted that storms would pass to the Northeast, community members who are used to rapidly changing weather in the North Country came prepared with rain coats and umbrellas.

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