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.
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
Village Green and the Red Hook Town Tree Commission are pleased to share these urban forest management plans. Longtime Red Hook environmental advocate Brenda Cagle shares some background with us.
The Town of Red Hook Forestry Management Plan is an example of a volunteer-created plan for a small community (pop. 8240). The Red Hook Town Tree Commission created the plan in 2013 after the completion of a street tree inventory conducted by the Hudson Valley Specialized Weekday Arborist Team (SWAT) and funded by a NYSDEC Cost-Share Grant. This plan is very readable and informative. Colorful and inspiring pictures are sprinkled throughout and keep the reader’s attention. In addition to guidelines for budgeting, planting, maintenance and outreach, the plan includes the entire street tree inventory, a master tree list, tree planting instructions, and a resource page.
The Village of Red Hook Forestry Management Plan (2004) is an another example of a volunteer-created plan for a small community (pop. 1961). In September, 2003, a street tree inventory was conducted by what was then called the Cornell Community Forestry Outreach Team. Village Green, the Village of Red Hook’s tree committee, created the forestry management plan the following spring. Some of the inventory findings—such as the lack of species diversity and the need for immediate maintenance or professional consultation—formed the basis of the plan. The Village used the plan to prioritize tree maintenance work and make informed planting choices. A second street tree inventory, funded by NYSDEC Cost-Share Grant dollars, was conducted in 2009. The results showed greater species diversity and lower maintenance needs, illustrating the value of having and plan and following it. This Village of Red Hook Plan would be most useful to those who have recently completed an inventory.
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.
These are the four categories: · Tree inventory · Tree management plan · Tree planting · Tree maintenance
Awards range from $11,000 to $75,000, depending on municipal population. Municipalities with populations of 65,000 or greater are eligible for grants up to $75,000. Towns with populations less than 65,000 are able to apply for up to $50,000. For inventory and management plan grants, no match is required. For planting and maintenance grants, there is a required 25% match.
These grants are made available through the Environmental Protection Fund to municipalities, nonprofits, soil and water conservation districts, school districts, community colleges, Indian nations or tribes, public benefit corporations, and public authorities.
A free webinar about the grant application process will be offered on Thursday, January 5th at 2 p.m. Registration is required.
To see the instructions and application, Go to the NYS Grants Gateway then go to Browse Opportunities > DEC > 2016 Urban and Community Forestry Grants Program (Round 13)- Tree Planting or Tree Maintenance Projects.
On our NYSUFC blog you can see examples of what the following municipalities and other entities did with their past cost-share grant dollars, excerpts from their application narratives, and advice they have to offer to new applicants:
Last spring, the City of Newburgh received a $20,000 TD Green Streets grant from TD Bank and the Arbor Day Foundation. The grant was submitted by City of Newburgh Conservation Advisory Council (CAC) members Kippy Boyle and Deborah Dresser and came to fruition with TREES ON LIBERTY, a tree planting event/celebration in October.“Trees on Liberty made possible the planting of 25 trees in a six block neighborhood in the historic Washington Heights district of the City of Newburgh,” Dresser says. “That was a great victory. But the greatest accomplishment was the community that was energized around trees. Something new, good, and wholesome was happening and the neighbors were proud to be a part of it.”
In addition to providing for trees, the grant also supported the purchase of a new City water truck.
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.