by Connie Oswald Stofko
“We’re big about trees around here,” said Dan Stone, city arborist with the City of Jamestown Department of Parks, Recreation & Conservation.
Jamestown is one of 16 Western New York communities that have been honored in the Tree City USA program for their attention to the “urban forest.” Tree City USA is a program sponsored by the National Arbor Day Foundation in cooperation with the US Department of Agriculture Forest Service and the state forestry agencies.
Stone will speak about the program and offer tips on trees in a presentation hosted by the Transplants Garden Club at 1 p.m. Monday, April 21 in the Fireplace Room at the James Prendergast Library, 509 Cherry St., Jamestown.
Trees have many benefits, Stone said. The shade they provide can help us cut the cost of air conditioning. They hold soil intact, act as a wind block, add oxygen to the air and provide a habitat for animals.
“And there’s the peace and tranquility they provide,” he said. The changes of color throughout the seasons are beautiful, especially the rolling hills in autumn covered red, orange and yellow. He lived in Florida for several years and when he showed people photos he took in Western New York, they thought he was showing them postcards he had purchased.
“No,” he said, “that’s home.”
Here are Western New York (Region 9) communities that have been recognized by the Tree City USA program and the number of years they have been recognized
Amherst, 18 years
Buffalo, 24 years
Cuba, 11 years
East Aurora, 16 years
Ellicottville, 33 years
Franklinville, 30 years
Gowanda, 12 years
Jamestown, 33 years and growth award
Lancaster, 15 years
Middleport, 18 years
North Tonawanda, 6 years
Olean, 28 years
City of Tonawanda, 2 years
Town of Tonawanda, 17 years and growth award
Wellsville, 23 years
Williamsville, 7 years
To qualify as a Tree City USA community, a town or city must meet four standards established by the Arbor Day Foundation and the National Association of State Foresters. The community must have:
- A tree board or department
- A tree care ordinance
- A community forestry program with an annual budget of at least $2 per capita
- An Arbor Day observance and proclamation
Two communities, Jamestown and the Town of Tonawanda, also received growth awards for going beyond the four basic standards.
The Town of Tonawanda began a suburban tree farm in 2011, said Jack Schifferli, town forester. It provides training for the interested members of the Boys & Girls Club of the Northtowns, who learn skills such as planting, transplanting and pruning. Trees grown by the participants will be planted by volunteers May 3 on Kenview Ave.
Jamestown has gotten outside funding that will allow the city to plant one-third more street trees this year, Stone said. Jamestown has more than 12,000 street trees, and the city cuts down about 200 trees a year for public safety. Most trees are simply old, but some are diseased or damaged by cars. A $7,000 grant from the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation will be used to plant 76 trees in the neighborhood of Fletcher Elementary School.
Stone was also proud to note that Jamestown Community College is in the Tree Campus USA program. It was the second school in the state to receive the designation and has received it for five years.
Your village, town or city can be part of the Tree City USA program; the standards are written in such a way that even small communities can qualify. Find more information here.