Let’s talk about trees. With Arbor Day approaching on April 29, it’s a good time to celebrate trees by planting one. Additionally, the Town of Schenectady would like the community to provide feedback on its new Community Forest Management Plan at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 26 at the Mount Pleasant Public Library.
The plan, which is currently available online on the city’s website (www.cityofschenectady.com/documentcenter), is a 100-page document that details everything from the condition and types of the city’s 11,545 trees. how to maintain, protect and enhance the Schenectady community forest.
“It’s exciting to put this into action after working on it for the past two years,” said Alex Sutherland, city operations manager. “The mayor has a zero tolerance policy and wants to plant as many trees as we lose.”
People may remember the October 2020 storm that destroyed or damaged so many of the city’s trees and how National Grid stepped in and pledged $240,000 to the Greater Capital Region, including $80,000 to this county and city to replant trees as part of its 10,000 Trees and Growth Program. Then, in December 2020, the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation provided $1.4 million in urban forestry grants to communities across the state to create a forest inventory and management plan. trees. Schenectady was one of 38 recipients from 154 nominations and received $61,200.
So what does all this have to do with trees?
Trees fight air pollution. They clean and use rainwater. They reduce the effects of heat. They improve mental health. They are beautiful. They provide habitat for all kinds of creatures. They provide work for those who plant, maintain and cultivate them. They improve property values. They save energy with their shade in summer and as a windbreak in winter. And without them, we and all life on Earth would not continue to thrive.
All of these facts explain why Betsy Henry and other concerned townspeople founded ReTree Schenectady in 1991. Since then, the group has planted over 4,000 trees in the town and taught volunteers how to plant and care for them. . They also won state DEC grants, wrote the city’s first tree master plan and tree inventory, funded tree tags, and provided a walking guide for Central Park trees. But alliances with local schools, churches and neighborhood groups have helped the most.
“They helped tremendously,” Henry said. “Planting days involve dozens of volunteers sometimes at several planting sites across the city. By involving entire neighborhoods, planting trees is often the first step towards civic engagement.
ReTree also launched a six-week summer program for young people last year to plant trees in underserved neighborhoods. Henry said she expected to host the program again this year.
The emphasis on trees is also linked to the Arbor Foundation, which celebrates its 150th anniversary this year. The group began in Nebraska when J. Sterling Morton, who had settled his family on newly purchased land, realized that there were few trees on the site. With no windbreaks, fuel, building materials and shade from the scorching sun, Morton began planting trees and eventually lobbied the state legislature to create a holiday to encourage other Nebraskanians to plant. This first Arbor Day was April 10, 1872 and approximately one million trees were planted on this day. Arbor Day in New York is now the last Friday in April.
In addition to Tree Day celebrations, a city can gain community pride, better working relationships with state conservation agencies, and provide a healthier environment for its citizens by becoming TreeCity USA with the Arbor Foundation. Schenectady celebrates its twentieth year as TreeCity, one of 3,400 communities in this country.
As the city prepares for eventual planting, Amsterdam is hosting a tree giveaway on April 29 from 4-7 p.m. at the Century Club Amsterdam with seedlings provided by the Montgomery County Soil and Water Department ; and on April 30, at the Pitney Meadows Community Farm in Saratoga Springs, volunteers will farm across the city to plant 53 saplings as part of the Sustainable Saratoga organization.
But local owners may want to plant their own tree. Local nurseries, such as the Saratoga Tree Nursery in Saratoga Springs, have thousands of tree seedlings suitable for this region available for purchase until May 13. The following is a list of ReTree Schenectady trees he recommends: For trees that will mature within thirty feet and are good for frame situations: Hedge Maple, Serviceberry, American Hornbeam, Red Bud of the East, hawthorn, red aronia of Canada, flowering cherry. For large trees where size is not an issue: Red Maple, Katsura Tree, Gingko, Dawn Redwood, Black Gum, London Planet, Flowering Pear, Elm Hybrids, Crimean Linden, Red Oak Northern and Japanese zeikova.
And there’s a website, www.itreetools.org, that gives homeowners information about the health and value of their trees.
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