Contributing Writer: Leanna Nugent, Community Forestry & Natural Resources Educator, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Onondaga County

The Town of Geddes and the Village of Camillus were each designated as a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation.

The Arbor Day Foundation annually awards the status of Tree City USA to municipalities that meet four standards: 1) having a tree committee or board, 2) maintaining a tree budget of $2/capita, 3) having a tree ordinance and 4) celebrating Arbor Day.

The Town of Geddes Tree Committee, which has evolved from the Westvale Neighborhood Association, passed its tree ordinance last fall. It included provisions for tree preservation during construction and guidance on public tree planting provided by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Onondaga County (CCE Onondaga). Geddes also celebrated Arbor Day with its annual residential tree planting, where they partnered with Onondaga Earth Corps, the local organization that empowers youth to participate in urban and community forestry projects.

John Allen and Kevin Sullivan of the Geddes Tree Committee Plant Trees at the Geddes Athletic Fields
Onondaga Earth Corps Members Plant Trees for the Town of Geddes’ Annual Residential Tree Planting

“The Tree Committee is honored to have assisted the Town of Geddes obtain this important designation from the Arbor Day Foundation. This means that the entire town, not just Westvale neighborhoods, will be able to benefit from the joint efforts of the Committee and the Town to plant and protect trees in all of its neighborhoods and public areas,” said Heather Durant, President of the Westvale Neighborhood Association, and Tree Committee Co-Chair.

“Trees are essential for the sustainability of our world, but also for the wellbeing of our residents, their children and grandchildren,” added Kevin Sullivan, Founding Chairperson of the Town of Geddes Tree Committee. “Trees planted today will enhance our community for years to come.”

The Village of Camillus began its Tree City USA journey with Mayor Dick Waterman. Waterman has always been passionate about trees and lining the Village’s streets with more tree canopy.

Waterman created a Tree Committee with the help of his Village Board and was able to pass a tree ordinance within a matter of a few months. The Village of Camillus Tree Committee went on the celebrate Arbor Day by planting trees in Munro Park, with the help of CCE Onondaga, residents, and local nursery, Red Oak Nursery.

The budgetary requirement was not a hurdle, as Mayor Waterman already dedicated $2/capita to trees each year. According to Waterman, “We, the Village of Camillus, are delighted that we have been designated a Tree City. We have plans to plant one hundred new trees in the next two years along with maintaining our current newly planted trees. We continue to talk with other villages and the town about the benefits of becoming a Tree City and what it means to their community. Let’s all of us continue this fine endeavor.”

CCE Onondaga was proud to partner with and support both municipalities in their efforts and looks forward to helping them maintain their designations. This is a free service that CCE Onondaga offers any municipality in Onondaga County who is interested in establishing or improving their community forestry program.

Volunteers Plant a Swamp White Oak at Munro Park for the Camillus’ Arbor Day Celebration
CCE Onondaga Community Forestry Educator Leanna Nugent demonstrates proper tree planting techniques with the help of Ben Dusart of Red Oak Nursery