BY JENNIFER CROWLEY
The Village of Scottsville officially proclaimed Saturday, May 4th as Arbor Day. To commemorate this important day, the village’s Forestry Board along with community members and local scouting groups planted eleven new trees in the two village parks.
In Canawaugus Park, a group of scouts and their parents planted four Paper Birch trees along the Greenway Trail; these trees were provided to the Village from the New York State Division of Parks and the Friends of the Greenway not for profit group. A Willow tree was planted by Wheatland-Chili High School Science Teacher Kim LeCelle along Oatka Creek. This planting is part of a stream bank stabilization project and LeCelle intends to involve her students in a variety of related plantings.
Over in Johnson Park, a group of families planted another four Paper Birches along the northern border. These trees were also provided by the New York State Division of Parks and Friends of the Greenway. The Friends entity also donated two additional trees, a Sycamore and a Red Maple, that were planted at the Park as well.
“Public outreach is part of the Forestry Board’s mission. Arbor Day plantings with families are one way to involve our community in the lifecycle of our Urban Forest and help build a connection to our parks and the village in general,” offered Forestry Board member Mike Souers. He added that the Village Board and Mayor Eileen Hanson, the Department of Public Works, and Scottsville Lions Club, all played vital roles in supporting the Arbor Day planting efforts.
Though the Forestry Board is always visible during Earth Day and Arbor Day events in the spring, their work, which is increasingly vital to preserving the village’s lush yet aging canopy, happens year-round. The weather in recent years, specifically several windstorms, along with various insect infestations, have damaged numerous trees, necessitating their removal. “We’ve lost nearly 20 trees this year. Our policy is to replace any removed tree with a new one in the same general vicinity depending on overhead wires, driveways, and sidewalks, so there is work to be done,” Souers explained.
The Forestry Board is undertaking a few new initiatives to proactively address the challenges facing Scottsville’s public trees. In November 2018, the Board applied for and received an Urban Forestry Grant to update the village’s tree inventory, a task that was last completed nine years ago under a similar grant. Rick VenVertloh, a Board member, has been working with a NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Arborist to identify possible firms to complete the inventory, work that is expected to take the rest of 2019 once it starts in July.
There are also other new trees coming to Scottsville in the near future. The Board recently purchased five unique “Hybrid” Oak trees. These were developed at Cornell University in an effort to design a tree that is salt-tolerant. Souers shared that, “Generally speaking, Oak trees do not like road salt which is why these Hybrid varieties may be ideal for the more urban setting where trees often line streets and roads. Our group received these new trees after agreeing to comply with program guidelines which include tagging and monitoring for health. We are all very interested in seeing how the hybrid trees fare and are delighted to be part of the project.”
The Forestry Board is always interested in welcoming new members; the group meets the second Thursday of each month at the Village offices starting at 7:00 PM.