Westchester Parks Foundation, Westchester County Parks Recreation and Conservation staff, and other dignitaries attended the ceremonial bur oak planting in New Rochelle. Photo Courtesy Westchester Parks Foundation

Thank you to Westchester Parks Foundation for providing this account of the planting/celebration. See also this blog post from  Council Board Member Jean Zimmerman about the event. 

In honor of New Rochelle’s 29th year as a Tree City USA community, Glen Island Park was chosen as the host site for the planting of a specimen oak tree memorial funded by a Tree City USA Reward grant from the New York State Urban Forestry Council. On Friday, July 2nd, 2021, there was a ceremonial unveiling of a bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa) and plaque near the park’s main pavilion. In support of the ceremony, media provided a platform for local public officials to recognize the efforts of Westchester County Parks Recreation and Conservation staff in keeping County parks open and accessible to all community members throughout the pandemic. Segments were picked up by local media outlets as well as shared on Facebook Live.

In attendance, Board Chair of the Westchester Parks Foundation Seth Mandelbaum opened the stage for Westchester County Executive, George Latimer, who commemorated Westchester County Park staff’s dedication to the community and the significant role parks play in the lives of residents. Then remarks were made by Commissioner of the Westchester County Department of Parks, Recreation and Conservation Kathleen O’Connor, expanding on her gratitude for Parks, who assisted in keeping residents’ mental and physical well-being a top priority during COVID-19.

Photo by Jean Zimmerman

The tree memorial and engraved plaque was unveiled by Jean Zimmerman, NYSUFC Board Member and Grant Committee Member, whose team awarded the grant for this occasion to be possible. Alongside her, Director of Volunteer Programs at Westchester Parks Foundation Erin Cordiner helped with the unveiling while also spearheading the volunteer project simultaneously underway. Forty volunteers were led by Westchester Parks Foundation Volunteer Coordinator Adam Lippman, who divided the group to tackle debris and litter cleanup throughout the area to prepare for the opening of Glen Island Park. Westchester Parks Foundation’s volunteer project was intentionally created to extend appreciation for the hard work and tireless effort of the county parks department and staff who kept the community connected and engaged throughout the pandemic.

This bur oak tree will stand as a reminder to decision-makers of the critical role that parks continue to play in our lives. It will serve as a reminder that the best way to make it through crisis will be united together, and that we all have a safe place to gather in our parks. 🌳