NYSUFC Board Member Karen Emmerich serves on the Warwick Town Tree Commission. Here she shares the Town’s 2015 Arbor Day celebration and activities, supported by an Arbor Day grant of $1000 from the Council (stay tuned to Taking Root e-news for information about the next round of grants) and $500 from ACTrees.
In 2015, Warwick held its first-ever Arbor Day poster contest. Patti O’Connor, a 5th Grade teacher in Warwick who is also on the Town’s tree commission, coordinated the effort at the middle school. We had 15 participants, and Sarah Davis’s poster was chosen by a committee of teachers as the representative poster to forward to the State contest. We held an artists’ reception at the Town Hall at the beginning of April, and the posters were on display throughout the month. All the artists received a “Trees are Cool” button, and contest winner Sarah received a pack of tree ID playing cards.
We held an Arbor Day celebration at the Town’s new dog park, where we planted four trees: a tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica), eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis), red oak (Quercus rubra) and Princeton elm (Ulmus ‘Princeton’). Members of the town board, the DPW supervisor, the town judge, and assorted citizens all attended the ceremony on what was a clear but cold, blustery day. After the DPW supervisor read the proclamation, one of our tree commissioners, Matt Doiron, spoke about the importance of trees in our lives. Matt is a forester with NYC Parks and has many years of experience in the field of urban forestry. We’re lucky to have him!
Just prior to Arbor Day, former Council President Andy Hillman contacted me and said that ACTrees had given the Council some funds for tree planting, and offered us an additional $500. Fantastic! We used that money to purchase two beautiful copper beeches (Fagus sylvatica ‘Purpurea’) that we planted in front of the Warwick Town Hall. I’m proud to say that all of the $1500 in grant money we received went to the purchase and planting of the trees. Other items were donated—refreshments from Shop Rite and poster materials from the Warwick Valley School District.
Our Warwick Town Tree Commission has grown to four members, and we have begun work on modifications to the Town’s code to include a tree protection component. We have reviewed our first street tree site plan for a large commercial project in the Town, and we are planning an EAB information session for local residents in conjunction with our local library. We also plan to hold another poster contest this winter for our school district’s 5th graders and an Arbor Day celebration in April 2016. As part of that celebration we hope to include other community groups so that we can increase public understanding about the importance of trees and to celebrate by planting more trees. We’re on our way to becoming a Tree City USA!
I can’t thank the Council and ACTrees enough for providing us with the funding to plant these trees. It’s given us some credibility to be able to start up our tree commission and show what we can do as a group. The Village of Warwick has been a Tree City for more than 30 years; it’s high time that the Town of Warwick join its namesake in promoting one of its best assets—the woodlands of Warwick. In fact, Henry William Herbert (pen name Frank Forester) wrote a locally revered book, The Warwick Woodlands, back in the early 1800s. Warwick is very proud of its rural character, and maintaining its forest resources is key.