From Brian Skinner, Council Treasurer and Arbor Day Grant Program Chair
The NYS Urban Forestry Council Arbor Day Grant Program Committee, in conjunction with the NYSDEC, is pleased to announce the winners of the 2018 grants. There was significant competition this year, with 26 applications from across New York State submitted and 13 communities eventually selected to receive grants of $400-$1,000 to conduct a first-time community celebration of Arbor Day.
The Villages of Albion, Bainbridge, Freeville, Lima, and Liverpool; the Towns of East Bloomfield, Hastings, New Windsor, North Collins, and Plattsburgh; and the cities of Gloversville and Sherrill were selected to receive grants in support of new Arbor Day programs as presented and described in their applications. Congrats to these communities!
NYSDEC Urban and Community Forestry Grant Information Sessions in preparation for Round 14 of Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) grants are coming up in April at four locations around the State. Funding for the urban forestry grants from a total available $2.3 million will be awarded for projects by successful applicants in large and small communities throughout the State. The application will be available on the NYS Grants Gateway later in Spring 2018. Grants will be for project categories including tree planting and maintenance; education programs; and tree inventories and community forest management plans.
As communities look to apply for Round 14 grants, it’s helpful to look back at successful applications from previous rounds. For instance, Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn applied and received two Round 13 EPF grants: one under the category of tree planting or tree maintenance, and the other under the category of tree inventory or community forest management planning. Both were awarded at $75K, with the maintenance grant having a $25K match. These were the first EPF grants Green-Wood received.
Last month, NYC Parks First Deputy Commissioner Liam Kavanagh came and spoke with the Council Board at their meeting at the NYSDEC Region 2 office on Long Island. Commissioner Kavanagh discussed three national, big-picture urban forestry projects with the Board: the Ten-Year Urban Forestry Action Plan, a report on the Impact of Urban and Community Forestry Federal Grants, and the Urban Forestry Toolkit. Let’s look at each one.
1) The Ten-Year Urban Forestry Action Plan (2016-2026) was developed by and for the urban forestry community. It was funded by the US Forest Service and developed by the National Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Council (NUCFAC)* with extensive input from stakeholders. You can read an interesting interview with Liam Kavanagh about the Plan here.
The Plan’s purpose is to expand awareness of the benefits that our urban forests, including green infrastructure, provide to communities throughout the nation, and increase investments in these urban forest resources for the benefit of current and future generations.
Funding Will Help Support Tree Planting and Other Urban Forestry Projects Statewide
Read on to find out about the awardees and their projects
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently announced grant awards totaling $2.3 million for urban forestry projects in communities across New York. The Urban Forestry grants are funded through the state Environmental Protection Fund and are part of New York’s ongoing initiatives to address invasive species, climate change and environmental justice.
“These investments will help improve the quality of life in New York neighborhoods by supporting the replacement of trees impacted by invasive pests,” Governor Cuomo said. “Every New Yorker deserves access to clean air, and through these urban forestry grants, we are promoting the benefits of planting new trees to support a better, healthier New York for all.”
Grants were made available to municipalities, public benefit corporations, public authorities, school districts, soil and water conservation districts, community colleges, not-for-profit organizations, and Indian Nations. Awards range from $11,000 to $75,000, depending on municipal population. Tree inventories and community forestry management plans have no match. Tree planting and maintenance projects have a 25 percent match.
The Village of Cambridge in Washington County celebrated Arbor Day on April 29, 2017 with the help of a Council grant. Villagers met at the playground to plant four sugar maples in spots where playground users are in need of shade.
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.
With the assistance of consultant Jerry Bond from Urban Forest Analytics LLC, the City of Batavia recently completed their first comprehensive Tree Management Plan. It was funded through Round 12 of the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) Cost-Share Grant program, administered by NYSDEC.
City of Batavia Director of Public Works Matt Worth was Bond’s point person for the Plan creation process. Worth says, “A Plan was put together which consolidated several segmented sets of data and put it into an electronic format which the field supervisors are becoming proficient in managing. The overall Plan provides guiding strategies for increasing the sustainability of Batavia’s urban forest as the City moves through the next 20 years. Many of these strategies were easily implemented, and streamlined our decision making in regards to the City’s urban forest.”
Over the last five years, a number of complementary inventories of Batavia’s public trees have been made. A full inventory of street trees was completed in 2014 by Cornell University’s Student Weekend Arborist Team (SWAT) under the local direction of Fred Cowett and the general oversight of Prof. Nina Bassuk. In October of 2016, Jerry Bond of Urban Forest Analytics LLC conducted a sample inventory to estimate the maintenance needs of a large number of trees left unrated by SWAT, and to confirm the status of the street tree resource more generally. In June of 2016, Bond did a full inventory of the City’s park trees.
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.