by Mike DeMarco, Council Board Member and City of Watertown Planner
As a newly appointed board member to the NYS Urban Forestry Council, I can’t imagine a more important time to be present, focused, and committed to what our Council represents. Federal urban forestry funding helps to supply grants that aid efforts to beautify and improve many of the communities that make up our wonderful state. So, what can we do as a Council to help inspire our elected officials to show support for this valuable funding? The idea may seem a bit daunting, right? Actually, it’s been fun and rewarding!
I’ve been participating in advocacy efforts using the newly available NYSUFC advocacy postcards! This simple yet effective tool was inspired by a grassroots effort in women’s rights. How cool is that?! With this successful blueprint already laid out, we will continue to use the postcards to contact our elected officials in hopes of engaging their leadership, influence, and support for urban forestry funding.
At a recent meeting of Watertown, NY’s street tree advisory board, Tree Watertown, NYSUFC advocacy postcards were filled out by members of the board and mailed to state and federal elected officials to let them know that urban forestry funding is important!
One member of Tree Watertown wrote, I am a member of the New York State Urban Forestry Council, and I’m concerned about: the loss of funding for urban forestry. Here’s Why: Trees help to clean our air, cool our cities, and help to mitigate the effects of pollution-laden stormwater runoff that flows into our waterways.
Another member wrote: I am a member of the New York State Urban Forestry Council, and I’m concerned about: losing valuable future urban forestry funding that is used to help keep our cities green and vibrant! Here’s Why: Trees beautify our neighborhoods and invite people to stay longer in downtown centers.
I invite you to join in with your ReLeaf or other group, photograph your group writing your postcards, and share your experiences on the Council blog! (Send to Michelle at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Keep a look out for Mary Kramarchyk as she’ll be supplying the postcards at ReLeaf meetings across the state, at regional workshops, and at our annual ReLeaf Conference later this summer in Queens. Stamps (first-class postage required) will be provided for the postcards. Have fun, and thanks so much! More information about this important advocacy is to come.