WNY communities honored by Tree City USA program

Cherry Tree Spring 2013 Lafayette & 6th in Jamestown NY
Cherry tree at Lafayette and 6th in Jamestown. Photo courtesy City of Jamestown Department of Parks, Recreation and Conservation

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.

Oaks in winter on West 3rd St from City of Jamestown NY
Oaks provide a lovely canopy in winter on West 3rd Street in Jamestown. Photo courtesy City of Jamestown Department of Parks, Recreation and Conservation

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

Suburban tree farm in the Town of Tonawanda. Photo courtesy Town of Tonawanda.
Suburban tree farm in the Town of Tonawanda. Photo courtesy Town of Tonawanda.

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.

autumn trees at Jamestown Community College
There is a tree program for colleges, too, and Jamestown Community College was the second school in the state to be designated in the Tree Campus USA program. Photo courtesy Jamestown Community College

4 Comments on “WNY communities honored by Tree City USA program

  1. I would like Cheektowaga to replace the trees that were destroyed during 2006 Oct Surprise Storm. My street is missing quite a few. Tell me, how does a town taxpayer get action?

  2. Contact the town and tell them of your concerns. That’s definitely your first step. If they indicate that the trees won’t get planted anytime soon, find out why. Is it because there’s an unwillingness to replace the trees, or is it because so many trees were killed that they have a waiting list, or not enough money or not enough manpower? From there you can decide what you can do as a citizen. If elected officials don’t see trees as a priority, attend board meetings and make phone calls and write letters to get them to see that it’s important. Perhaps the folks who take care of trees haven’t been able to make their case for more funding and would be happy to have community support. There are resources such as ReTree WNY that might be helpful. You could volunteer, too. There are lots of ways citizens in a democracy can get things done. I’m glad you’re concerned. I hope you will take action.

  3. I’m a proud resident of Jamestown and absolutely love the trees. They lend our neighborhoods character and beauty and soften that stark urban landscape. Jamestown has emerged here as a true leader.

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