Greenwich Tree Conservancy Launches Bruce Park Arboretum

post10Cheryl Dunson, vice president of the Greenwich Tree Conservancy, Peter Malkin, president, standing behind her, JoAnn Messina, executive director, Bruce Spaman, Greenwich Tree Warden, and LivvyFloren, advisory board member stand by planting of Magnolia tree.
An opening reception for Bruce Park’s Arboretum celebrating the creation of Greenwich’s first Arboretum Trail was held on Sunday, June 12. The trail is the beginning of an educational plan for Greenwich’s urban forest where residents may gather information about the community’s trees and enjoy a walk in the park. The first trail features 26 native and specimen trees with descriptive plaques circling the pond by the gazebo in the park.
A crowd of more than 40 tree and nature-lovers attended the reception, and were treated to beverages and snacks followed by a guided tour of the trail’s trees by GTC’s Board Member, Mark Greenwald, who educated the crowd about the history and nature of the trees.An Arboretum is a place where trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants are cultivated for scientific and educational purposes. This is Greenwich’s first trail and many more are planned.
Thanks for this project goes to a partnership between the Town Tree Warden, Bruce Spaman of the Parks and Recreation Dept. and the Advisory Board of the Greenwich Tree Conservancy with Leslie Lee, Sue Baker and JoAnn Messina spearheading the project.,

You Can’t Unchop a Tree!

Chris Kadsigiannis is a third-generation Greenwichite whose grandparents came here from Finland in the early 1900’s and bought a historic tavern on Strickland Road. They converted the tavern to a home and it was sold by the family in 2012 to the Greenwich Historical Society next door. Growing up in such a unique home at a tidal inlet of Cos Cob Harbor, her family inspired her love for history and the environment.
When Chris and her husband bought a house on North Ridge Road in Havemeyer Park eleven years ago, the most important feature for her was not the interior of the house, but a 150 year-old Copper Beach tree standing majestically right behind it. Unfortunately two years ago, the house was burned down in a fire.
They decided to build a new house on the footprint of the original but when the architect told Chris that the Copper Beach tree would have to go, she adamantly refused. She told the architect that this tree had to be saved. In the revised plans the tree remained.
However, when construction began, the tree was in danger of dying if its extensive root system was compromised by the construction work surrounding it, which often happens during construction near trees. She insisted that a perimeter around the critical root zone be delineated and that the construction crew practice low impact development techniques by limiting site disturbances to the land. She also hired a water company to bring in gallons of water from a river source, so that the Copper Beach tree was well irrigated during our drought conditions. hile readying the property for construction, Chris found two Copper Beech saplings at the back of her property. She has offered to donate one of the saplings to the Town of Greenwich to be planted in one of its parks, to continue the heritage of these trees originally planted over 100 years ago by Henry Osborn Havemeyer.
Chris knows you can’t “Unchop a Tree”. As the steward of her land on North Ridge, Chris has taken special care of her beloved Copper Beech, so that it can stand tall, branching out as it is today. (see photos below..)


Tree Conservancy Maintains Deep Roots in Greenwich

post6From the beginning of the last century up until the present, Greenwich has been very fortunate to receive donations of private lands from environmentally conscious
residents. Owners of large estates with heavily forested tracts have turned their properties into public parks and refuges, thereby protecting them from the developer’s backhoes and enriching the quality of life for Greenwich residents. Think Byram, Bruce and Binney Parks, thePinetum, Babcock Preserve and others. Additionally, owners of smaller properties with protection of the environment ahigh priority, have donated portions of their property for conservation easements.

In April 1936, a local newspaper printed a story reporting extensive tree planting being carried out by the town with help from the Greenwich Tree Association and tree donations. We are reminded of the tree plantings along Lake Avenue donated by the Rockefeller family.In recent times, The Greenwich Tree Conservancy, established in 2007 with the mission of planting, protecting and maintaining the trees of Greenwich, works closely with the town tree warden, carrying on this grand tradition of caring for our environment and our trees. At times, it is easy to forget the life-preserving benefits of trees to both humans and wildlife.

It was our goal in 2015 to plant 375 trees on public and nonprofit land in honor of the 375th Anniversary of the founding of Greenwich. We are most proud to announce that we have exceeded our goal with the planting of 449 trees all around town. We thank all who donated to the Tree Conservancy to make this happen and thank the town for working with us toward this important goal.

JoAnn Messina is executive director of the Greenwich Tree Conservancy

Greenwich Tree Conservancy’s 6th Annual Tree Party Celebration Set for Friday at McArdle’s

post4The British poet, T.S. Eliot, wrote that April was the cruelest month. However, it’s fair to say that many would disagree. The month of April is full of promise, forecasting Mother Nature’s reawakening, so visible in the budding leaves on the branches of trees.

That is why Earth Day and Arbor Day are both celebrated in April and it is no coincidence that the Greenwich Tree Conservancy also holds its annual Tree Party this month on the same day as Arbor Day.
The date this year is Friday, April 29, from 6:30 to 8:30 at McArdle’s Greenhouse on Arch Street in Greenwich. The theme of this year’s celebration of trees is “In Honor of Trees and Those who help us Grow.”
Supporters and members of the Tree Conservancy have helped the Conservancy to plant more than 2,400 trees on public property in Greenwich in the last nine years, and after planting these trees, then preserving and protecting them so they enjoy a long life which benefits our town both environmentally and aesthetically.
Hors d’ oeuvres and drinks including signature cocktail tastings will be served and there will be door prizes, music and other fun surprises at the party.

post5
All are welcome to attend. For information about tickets to this event, visit the Greenwich Tree Conservancywebsite.
Greenwich Tree Conservancy is a non-profit organization open to all interested citizens that was created to preserve and enhance the tree and forest resources of Greenwich to benefit the community, its health and its quality of life.

Greenwich Tree Conservancy to Hold Educational Panel

post6Greenwich Tree Conservancy Executive Director, JoAnn Messina,seen here in 2015 beside a dying tree in the Island Beach parking lot, will be part of an upcoming panel discussion for homeowners about how to
properly maintain and preserve trees, especially when it comes to construction

GREENWICH —The Greenwich Tree Conservancy is offering a course in Tree Planting and Maintenance 101 for homeowners — and others — interested in landscaping.
The conservancy will hold a panel discussion from 9:30 to 11 a.m. April 2 at Sam Bridge Nursery, 437 North St. Billed as “Calling All Tree Owners,” the free event will be the first in a series that will focus on best practices for planting and maintaining trees.

post2
“This is something that will be for everyone,” Miriam Mennin, publicity chairman for the Greenwich Tree Conservancy, said. “This first program is going to really focus on the homeowners but overall this series will also be for real estate professionals and anyone who owns property and it’s for people looking to do landscaping. There’s going to be a lot of useful information for everyone.”
The panel will cover how to protect trees during construction, tips for dealing with design and industry professionals, information on how to mulch and feed trees and how to set up the best irrigation for healthy trees. Also on the list: selecting the right kind of tree to that can withstand a storm and not bring down power lines.
“We strongly feel this is a real need in our community,” Mennin said. “People need to know how to properly plant and care for trees. We have a wonderful urban forest in Greenwich and we all want to preserve it and add to the aesthetic benefit these trees bring us.”
Panel members include Steve Johnson from Sam Bridge Nursery and local landscapers John Conte of Conte and Conte, Brian Johnson of Hawthorne Brothers and Mark Greenwald of Maher and Greenwald Fine Gardens.
Greenwald will serve as the moderator for the event.
“This is something we’ve wanted to do for a while,” Greenwald said. “I’m a professional designer, and for years in Greenwich, I have seen bad decisions being made in terms of how homes are built. We want people to get the information they need to make better decisions on how to save and deal with trees during construction and regular maintenance. Doing this can make a real difference when it comes to dealing with storms or floods or other effects of nature.”
Future panel discussions, which are still in the planning stages, will be free of charge and open to the general public.
Pre-registration for the event is suggested and can be done online at www.greenwichtreeconservancy.com by emailing treeconserv@optonline.net or by calling 203-869-1464

Love blossoms at the Greenwich Tree Conservancy’s Tree Party

post1Shari and Bill James were married on Sept. 21, 2013.

Contributed by The Greenwich Tree Conservancy
Shari Aserand Bill James had known each other since they were children growing up in the same neighborhood as well as both attending Round Hill Nursery School and Greenwich High School. After graduation, they went on separate paths, Shari to undergraduate school at Bucknell University where she majored in Civil Engineering and Bill to Hobart College where he majored in Political Science, and never saw each other again until… a Spring evening on April 1, 2011.
This particular evening the Greenwich Tree Conservancy was holding its annual fundraiser, the Tree Party at McArdles Garden Center. Shari was reluctant to attend since she had just come home exhausted from a business trip, but her mom. A supporter of the Tree Conservancy, coaxed her to go with a promise of treating Shari to dinner after the party.
Lo and behold, also in attendance that evening was Bill, whose mother was also a supporter of the Tree Conservancy Bill was volunteering at the party in his role as a Board Member of the Greenwich Young Professionals Group (YPG). One of Shari’s good friends, also at the party, commented that she was impressed with the YPG organization, especially their commitment to supporting the Tree Conservancy. Her friend suggested that Shari might be interested in joining the YPG and insisted upon finding a board member to introduce her to.
As Shari and her mother were about to leave, Shari’s friend returned with Bill and they immediately recognized each other from their Greenwich school days, not having seen each other for the last 15 years. As Bill was looking to recruit members additional members for the YPG, Bill suggested that they meet for drinks to discuss the group’s mission. They exchanged business cards. By the time Shari and her mom walked to their car,, Bill had already emailed her with a proposed time for drinks.
They went on their first date the following Friday at Gingerman’s Pub, and as they say, the rest is history. On September 21, 2013 Shari and Bill were married at the Westchester Country Club and now reside in Greenwich. Bill, who is a vice-president at U.S. Trust, Bank of America, Private Wealth Management, and Shari, who is director of Digital Sales, North America Software Solutions look forward to attending the Tree Party each year to celebrate their reconnection and to support the goals of the Greenwich Tree Conservancy.
Greenwich Tree Conservancy is a non-profit organization open to all interested citizens that was created to preserve and enhance the tree and forest resources of Greenwich to benefit the community, its health and its quality of life.

To The Editor: Trees bring many benefits to Greenwich

From the Greenwich-Post.com on November 14, 2013

To the Editor

Recently, the tree warden protected four beautiful pin oaks that mask part of the Cos Cob train station and give shade to that area. He also protected two trees that stand alone along Strickland Road.

We thank him for saving our town’s assets and understanding that safe roads and sidewalks can coexist with trees. Because of recent storms, some residents are concerned about our urban forest. So it’s good to remind everyone of the often-overlooked environmental and economic benefits of trees.

• Trees clean the air: Trees act as giant filters that clean the air we breathe by intercepting airborne particles, cooling the air and absorbing pollutants like carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide. A mature leafy tree produces as much oxygen in a season as 10 people inhale in a year.

• Trees benefit the soil: Trees can store harmful pollutants and change them into less harmful forms. Trees filter sewage, reduce effects from animal wastes, clean roadside spills, and clean water runoff into streams. Trees control soil erosion, conserve rainwater and reduce sediment deposit after storms. Tree roots bind the soil and their leaves break the force of wind and rain.

• Trees increase property value: Real estate values can increase when trees are planted. Data shows that buyers are willing to spend 3% to 7% more on homes with ample trees over few or no trees.

• Trees shade and cool: Shade reduces the need for air conditioning in summer. Studies show that parts of cities without cooling shade from trees can literally be “heat islands” with temperatures as much as 12 degrees higher than in surrounding areas.

• Trees bring people together: Data shows neighborhoods with shady trees and parks create outdoor spaces that attract people. When people are drawn to spaces with trees, they are more likely to see and interact with their neighbors and become friends.

Let’s be mindful of “our friends” the trees and protect our environment, health and property values. Our children, their children, and all the generations to come as the heirs of our fragile planet will be grateful to us.

JoAnn Messina
Greenwich

The author is the executive director of the Greenwich Tree Conservancy.

To the Editor: Regarding the Storm

To the Editor:

The Greenwich Tree Conservancy agrees with the recommendations given recently in several letters to the editor. Underground wiring should begin without further delay on major town roads, near substations and for all new construction. The long term cost over the many years this will take, will be far less than the cost of the current archaic system when business and property losses are taken into account.

We believe that severe and destructive “100 year” storms may be coming with more frequency and power lines will continue to suffer with our majestic trees, although the suffering will be much less if our trees are maintained. Trees provide many ecosystem benefits including clean air, cleaner water, the sequestration of carbon from the air, prevention of flooding and creating homes for wildlife. We do need to balance these benefits and the enhanced aesthetics and property values with above ground power lines while they exist, that is why the Greenwich Tree Conservancy complies with state policy of planting only right trees in right places—short ornamental trees under power lines, shade trees only where there is no power line.

The majority of trees which impacted power lines in our recent storms were trees on private property, not governed by the existing town tree ordinance nor managed by our town tree warden. We agree that public and private tree management has to improve. We fully cooperate with our town tree warden and urge an increase in funding for care of existing trees on town property.

JoAnn Messina, Executive Director

Greenwich Tree Conservancy

Save Costs, Save Trees, Bury Lines

Originally posted in Greenwich Time: Letters to the Editor:

To the editor:

The Greenwich Tree Conservancy, a non-profit citizen group dedicated to the preservation and maintenance of our “urban forest,” urges our elected officials to require Connecticut Light & Power to bury power lines in Greenwich, wherever it may be feasible. Many Greenwich residents are insisting after the devastation of Hurricane Irene that this be accomplished.

Burying power lines may actually be more cost effective in the long run for CL&P than repeatedly repairing the damage to overhead power lines after a major storm such as Irene and the nor’easter of March 2010, which cost hundreds of millions of dollars. As a result of climate change, it is projected that hurricanes will be increasingly frequent. There would also be a savings to the utility through the elimination of the continuing cost of tree removal and pruning.

Continue reading “Save Costs, Save Trees, Bury Lines”

New Study Finds Treehuggers Had It Right All Along

– Story by Adam Cervin, Greenwich Patch

According to new research just released from the U.S. Forest Service and the Davey Institute, urban forests across the country save thousands of lives every year. Trees not only save lives, but according to the study, they reduce hospital visits and the number of days taken off work, and help people nationwide breathe better. They do this simply by collecting pollutants on their leaves and branches and thus remove them from the air.
> Read the full story by Adam Cervin on Greenwich Patch.