GTC In The News

New Haven Register

Environmentalists, legislators,residents fight against UItrimming, removing trees

Clare Dignan Jan. 11, 2020 HAMDEN

treework

A crew from Lewis Tree Service cut down a large sycamore tree during United Illuminatingtree trimming and removal on Grovers Avenue in the Black Rock section of Bridgeport in2015.
Photo: Hearst Connecticut Media file

HAMDEN — Environmental groups, legislators and residents all areobjecting to United Illuminating’s program aimed at trimming orremoving trees without consent from towns or residents.Under UI’s standard tree pruning/removal program — Utility

Protection Zone work — a property owner has the right to object totree work or ask to modify it, but the utility can remove the tree ifthe property owner doesn’t object, provided the utility has therequired permit from the municipality’s tree warden.

However, the law gives flexibility to utility companies to addresstrees coming into contact with wires or ones that show signs of burning.

State statute allows a utility company to forgo the permit requirement and notification to property owners when pruning orremoving a tree “if any part of a tree is in direct contact with anenergized electrical conductor or has visible signs of burning.

”The electric company, a subsidiary of Avangrid, cites the statute ona door hanger used specifically for these cases — the Targeted RiskManagement program — which it began in January of last year,according to Avangrid spokesman Ed Crowder.

UI’s standardvegetation management notification package includes options forconsent, objection and modification.Many objecting to the TRM program said the practice underminesthe municipal tree warden’s authority and doesn’t follow the spiritor intention of the exception.In letters to the state’s Public Utility Regulatory Authority — whichoversees the rates and services of utilities, hears complaints andreviews compliance — many are asking the agency stop UI fromimplementing the TRM program.“It takes away the right of the tree warden and the town to have anysay in what happens to our trees,” Hamden Alliance for Trees

member Diane Hoffman said.

State Rep. Michael D’Agostino, D-Hamden, said in commentssubmitted to PURA that as one of the legislators primarilyresponsible for crafting the statute, the intent of the “directcontact” language wasn’t to allow utilities to circumvent notifyingproperty owners and tree wardens.

D’Agostino, along with state Reps. Robyn Porter, D-New Haven, andJosh Elliot, D-Hamden, told PURA in a letter that the agencyshouldn’t allow UI to implement the program without evaluation orapproval since it’s intended for emergency situations.

“UI should not be the sole decider on tree removal withoutconsulting with tree wardens, town leaders or residents,” they saidin their letter. “UI has economic interest in removing as many treesas possible as quickly as possible, but this interest should not be thesole determining factor. The public also has an interest in bothaccess to reliable electricity as well as the benefits of having asmany healthy trees in their community as possible.

”Hamden recently ordered UI to stop all vegetation managementbecause of resident concerns.

No Tree Warden Oversight

Hamden’s consulting arborist Geoff Harris said the town wouldprefer to have eyes on all tree work. Harris said UI’s right toperform the work doesn’t mean it is doing so everywhere, but he’sskeptical.“They’re good guys trying to do the job correctly and the problemwe’re having is they have a limb on a wire and they want to do 8-10-

15 (clearance pruning), and if they want to do that they have to talkto me,” he said. “I want to be able to see the tree first and that’s thebottom line.”

Harris said the new specifications have caused a problem in whichcrews are asked to trim everything in utility protection zone, whichisn’t a good arborist practice.

Fairfield Tree Warden Jeff Minder said trees are part of a town’sinfrastructure and especially important to Fairfield. If utilities arepruning without consultation of a municipality’s arborist, the crewcould be leaving the tree aesthetically unappealing or structurallyunhealthy, he said.

“We definitely welcome the trimming program but we’d like it to betransparent,” Minder said. Without consultation with residents ortree wardens, UI will set the pruning standard and do what’snecessary to get the line clearance, he said.

Minder said he doesn’t have reason to believe that they’ll only trimwhat’s necessary and if they take to much, the tree will suffer.

As a full-time tree warden, Minder makes a point to walk with theidentifying crews during their regular circuits — and each time, theypropose a lot of work that Minder said isn’t necessary.

“They have one goal in mind — it’s to get utility line clearance,” hesaid. “They don’t care about neighborhood aesthetics, if your houseis in full sun all day, if there’s erosion on roadsides. These things arewhat a tree warden has to look at.”

David Goodson, UI’s director of vegetation management, told PURAthey send crews out to prune trees to a “four-year clearance” of 8 feet to the side, 10 feet below, and 15 feet overhead.

Fairfield has been a designated Tree City USA for nearly 32 years, arecognition of the city’s tree stewardship and urban foresteducation. In 2019 when UI rolled out TRM, Minder said they didn’tpropose any regular tree trimming, but wanted to do 24 miles ofTRM work, which the town refused.

“We’re not against UPZ (Utility Protection Zone) or direct contactprogram,” Minder said. “It needs to take place, but you need toinclude the tree warden.

”Mary Hogue, chairwoman of the Fairfield Forestry Committee, saidshe’s concerned that two customer rate increases have beenapproved specifically for tree trimming, yet Fairfield ratepayersdidn’t see any scheduled work done last year.“We’re convinced the work needs to happen and that there areplenty of roadside trees that need to be removed,” she said. “Thetree trimming needs to happen and is essential, but it needs to bedone with an arborist’s eye.”

Vegetation Management

Crowder said UI is simply trying to prevent hazards before theybecome problems.

“When we see a danger spot, we address it instead of waiting forthe next trim cycle.” he said. “We have an obligation to provide safeand reliable service.”

Last year, UI did TRM work on about 285 miles of distributioncircuit out of about 3,500 miles, prioritizing circuits with poor

reliability performance farthest away from scheduled routinemanagement, he said.

When asked why the utility is proposing this work withoutconsulting with the tree wardens, Crowder said, “We haveobligation to maintain the safety and reliability of our system andour customers expect us to do that on an ongoing basis.”

Crowder said crews are not taking down trees under this program.In January 2014, UI began the Utility Protection Zone program toestablish a clearance zone extending 8 feet horizontally andground-to-sky vertically around all of its primary distribution lines,according to the last vegetation management plan submitted toPURA. The authority approved $100 million for the 8-yearvegetation management plan, which was piloted in Hamden,Milford, Orange and Shelton.Then the authority approved a $162 million, 12-year plan, extendingthe program to 2025. UI said the increase was needed to fund theescalating costs of municipal traffic control, the consent andobjection process and rising costs of tree work.In UI’s vegetation management report to PURA, the utility saidcompliance with the legislation governing tree trimmingnotifications “has a negative impact on crew productivity andschedule completion because of the disruption it causes to the planand subsequent flow of work.”Utilities are allowed to pass along tree-trimming costs to ratepayersif they can prove to PURA the expenses are justified.

Outage Resiliency

Crowder said UI has seen consistently strong results in reductionsof outages over time.“We’re proud of UI’s excellent record of reliability, which ranks nearthe top in our industry,” he said. “This reflects UI’s proactiveapproach to upgrading and maintaining its system, including itsrobust vegetation management program.”UI circuits that have undergone UPZ clearance show a 65 percentimprovement — fewer interruptions — in day-to-day reliability from2015 through 2018, compared with just 9 percent improvement forthose that did not undergo UPZ clearance.Crowder said he didn’t know of customer satisfaction surveyscollected on tree work.

Benfits of an Urban Forest

Street trees can provide benefits far beyond neighborhoodbeautification, according to the Arbor Day foundation. Trees canprovide energy savings for heating and cooling, tame stormwaterrunoff, mitigate erosion and combat climate change.Hoffman said trees are one of the main nature-based solutions tothe climate crisis.Yale School of Forestry Urban Resources Initiative Director ColleenMurphy-Dunning works hand-in-hand with New Haven to plantmore street trees with consideration of species diversity, ecologicalbenefits and utility line safety.They plant about 500 trees every year in the city, employing theRight Tree Right Place practice that involves planting smaller,

ornamental trees under utility lines that won’t grow too tall whenfully mature. Across the street from utility lines they can plant tallershade trees so that they avoid the conflict cities have today withutilities, she said.“The practice has been Right Tree Right Place, but there are treesthat are tall and healthy planted under the lines and it’s OK,” shesaid. “If you have healthy tall trees they bring so much benefit.”Beyond beautification, URI estimates that New Haven’s street treessave the city about $4 million per year.

An appeal to PURA

Others in UI’s service territory are equally concerned. TheGreenwich Tree Conservancy, a local nonprofit that promotes thepreservation and enhancement of the tree and forest resources,oppose the program “because it offers convenience toConnecticut’s utilities at the expense of citizens, local publicofficials and our communities.”Eric Hammerling, Connecticut Forest & Park Association executivedirector, served as chairman of the State Vegetation ManagementTask Force and said the program would circumvent the publicnotice requirement that ensures vegetation management workconsiders landowner and community interests.Hammerling said when legislators discussed amendments to thelaw, utility companies asked to include the direct contact provisionso they could quickly respond to emergency situations. He said themeasure made sense at the time to everyone, but with the TRMprogram, UI appears to be using an intended ‘emergency measure’

as the basis for much of its planned work in some of its territory.Crowder said the utility considers an emergency to be when thelights are out or there are live wires on the ground.“We don’t want to wait for that to happen,” he said. “The statuteallows UI to address these threats proactively and expediently aspart of its obligation to provide safe and reliable service.”mdignan@hearstmediact.com

So, What’s the Greenwich Tree Conservancy Done for You Lately?

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Submitted by the Greenwich Tree Conservancy

So,what’s the Greenwich Tree Conservancy done for you lately?
Lots more than you might think in 2019.

First and foremost, the Greenwich Tree Conservancy (GTC) with the assistance of the Town Tree Department, planted over 500 trees this year. A record number since the Conservancy’s inception in 2007. These plantings added to the thousands of carefully selected trees already planted.

Tree plantings in Greenwich are the first order of business for the Conservancy but certainly not the only. GTC regularly testifies for the protection of existing healthy town trees. Recent testimony addressed the unnecessary cutting of healthy trees by Eversource and random cutting by developers. Additionally, at a July Board of Education hearing to extend the playing fields at Hamilton Avenue School, an alternative to losing mature trees was found.

Included in GTC’s mission isthe education of residents on the importance of a healthy town forest. In 2019 they invitedrenowned tree expertand field researcher Peter Wohlleben, author of “The Hidden Life of Trees”, to speak at the Greenwich Library to a packed house of almost 400 people. The Conservancy encourages residents to get outside and enjoy their parks through regular guided tree walks. This past fall GTC partnered with The Historical Society for a Putnam Cemetery walk and Town Tree Warden Greg Kramer along with GBC Horticulture Director Lisa Beebe, led a walk in Binney Park to learn about the many recent new plantings.

Treasured Trees, a new program for the Conservancy, invites residents to nominate a treasured tree on their property. A tree can be nominated for its special history, memory, unique story, or perhaps its size or shape. Nameplates were installed on each honored tree and a framed photograph of the nameplate installation was given to each family at an October reception.

In November the Conservancy, in partnership with the Greenwich Land Trust, harvested chestnuts at a chestnut tree planting it contributed to back in 2014. This planting is part of the American Chestnut Foundation’s effort to restore the lost American Chestnut Tree.

Good things happened this past year for our town’s urban forest. For more info and offerings for 2020, visit www.greenwichtreeconservancy.org.

Despite Movement to Postpone, RTM Votes on POCD

On Monday night the RTM voted to approve the 2019 Plan of Conservation and Development, which was a surprise.

There had been much talk about postponing the vote. In fact, four committees had voted for postponement.

Earlier in the day, RTM Moderator Pro Tempore Alexis Voulgaris said on WGCH, “I think RTM members just want a little bit more time to read into it before they weigh in. …It’s a big item, and we’ll likely put it to the following month.”

Among those advocating for a vote Monday night were LWV president Sandy Waters, past LWV president who is head of the Tree Conservancy JoAnn Messina, Conservation Commission’s Susie Baker, former P&Z chair Louisa Stone and  Francia Alvarez, who spoke as a member of the Land Use Committee and as a resident.

Also, on Monday afternoon, First Selectman Fred Camillo issued an op-ed supporting the POCD.

P&Z director Katie DeLuca said she was pleased with the vote. “My sense is that hearing speaker after speaker explain the virtues of the Plan, the hard work and outreach that went into it, and the desire to move it forward, was ultimately what swayed the majority from voting for postponement,” she said in an email on Tuesday morning.

Indeed outreach was significant, and the lengthy process of public review began back in 2017.

There were workshops, group discussions, and online tools for gathering input. Public workshops included:  Community Workshop (January 17, 2018), Greenwich Chamber of Commerce, Downtown & Village Business & Property Owners Workshop (January 18, 2018), Putnam Avenue Business & Property Owners Workshop (January 19, 2018), Community Visioning Workshop (May 17, 2018), Subareas Visioning Workshop (October 4, 2018), Presentation of the draft (September 19, 2019), and a Public Hearing (November 12, 2019).

Also, focus groups included 32 meetings with town boards, commissions and organizations – everyone from Tamar Lurie to the Tree Warden, and from Greenwich Hospital to the Housing Authority. The P&Z Commission publicly noticed 50 other meetings to discuss edits of the POCD draft.

After a motion to postpone failed, the overwhelming majority of RTM members voted in favor.

The vote was 148 in favor, 24 against and 4 abstentions.

The next step is implementing the Plan.

“It was extremely gratifying to have that kind of support for the document,” DeLuca said.

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POCD workshop at Greenwich High School. October 4, 2018 Photo: Leslie Yager

One of the guiding principles of the POCD is to preserve community character.

After input from a public planning session at Greenwich High School last year, P&Z agreed to work on a landscaping plan for Route 1 and to address signage.

DeLuca noted that the Riverside Association in particular has urged the town to create a “sense of place” on Rte 1 in Riverside.

Liz Peldunas of the Riverside Association has said that community wants the Post Road to reflect a character of place and described Riverside as both “a mutt” and the “poor step child” of Cos Cob and Old Greenwich.

For example, at hearings on a 20 unit building at 1205 East Putnam Ave proposed under the Town’s 6-110 “workforce housing” regulation, Peldunas noted Riverside has a village name and distinct zip code, yet its main drag is Putnam Ave.

P&Z has since put a moratorium on 6-110 applications.

Also, DeLuca said P&Z has had several sessions with the Greenwich Board of Realtors, and as a result the Commission is committed to studying FAR, height, and other building controls so they are simple enough to explain to newcomers and less dependent on professionals.

The POCD also calls for developing a tree preservation ordinance for private property, which has been on the radar of many local environmental groups for years.

A recent 6-110 application for 62 Mason Street, submitted before the moratorium, was case in point.

For the 7-unit building, which will replace an 1890 structure, the applicant had to hire professionals for repeated appearances before P&Z and ARC.

At the same time the application demonstrated the need for a tree preservation ordinance.

Over the objections of the Tree Conservancy, the applicant received permission from the tree Warden to cut down a mature Town-owned Maple tree that is part of the historic streetscape to make room for a wide driveway.

As part of the agreement, the tree warden stipulated a “historically important” Magnolia tree on the property be preserved. However, the applicant’s attorney John Tesei subsequently said the Magnolia was not healthy and needed to be cut down.

The commission ultimately approved the 7-unit building. It includes 2 units of workforce housing.

“This ordinance will be tricky as we must ensure the appropriate balance
between private property rights and the public good,” DeLuca said of a tree ordinance.

The Plan also seeks to develop housing opportunities that include innovative, high-quality, green, “physically accessible to all” options beyond the single family residence.

“We need reasonably priced housing to attract young families who will invest in the community. We need options for our seniors who want to downsize, and we need options for the 60% of the Town employees and the 60% of Board of Education employees who currently live outside of Town,” DeLuca added. “That’s 2,200 employees who could be spending more of their time at work instead of commuting.”

DeLuca said the Plan will also promote “hidden housing” like accessory
apartments and identify illegal apartments.

She said the Plan also addressed the balance between having top quality public and private schools and respecting neighborhoods.

DeLuca noted schools are mostly located in residential neighborhoods, and neighbors have voiced objections to increased traffic and to school expansions.

A proposed 30% FAR in 2018 drew the ire of neighbors of GHS and Greenwich Academy in particular. That proposal was ultimately withdrawn.

In response the POCD has action items that will address traffic, protect privacy, increase buffer space, and add planting requirements between schools and residential neighbors, particularly around parking lots, auditorium spaces, and athletic facilities.

Other guiding principals are to preserve open space, particularly in back country, and to maintain the town’s economic vitality by upgrading zoning regs and streamlining the process of establishing a business in Greenwich.

It also refers to strengthening Downtown as the central business district, exploring a dredge of  Greenwich Harbor, creating an art installation, improving lighting in the Steamboat Rd underpass and improving parking downtown by segregating employee parking from consumer parking.

And, finally the Plan talks about providing the best quality infrastructure, municipal facilities, cultural institutions and health services.

In particular, DeLuca said, “the health care industry is one we must keep a close eye on as it is gaining strength to parallel the hedge fund industry in terms of where we can add value.”

And while the POCD focuses on providing more affordable and moderate-income housing in Greenwich, the elephant in the room remained state affordable housing statute 8-30g.

While P&Z imposed a moratorium on the town’s 6-110 workforce housing reg, 8-30g continues to exempt developments from local zoning regulations.

Though the Commission has had some success with using the statute to convert illegal apartments to affordable units, hundreds of residents have turned out to object to large 8-30g proposals including a multi story building on Sound Beach Avenue (After a law suit, a scaled down version was approved as a moderate incomedevelopment rather than 8-30g.) and a proposal for the site of Post Road Iron Works for a 5-story, 355-unit apartment building with two levels of underground parking that was rejected by the Wetlands Agency. (After the applicant appealed in court, Judge Berger denied the appeal.)

Recently, P&Z approved a settlement with a Milbank Ave developerwho sued the town after the Commission rejected his proposed apartment building.

While residents expressed dismay with the massive building, which will replace six turn of the century houses with one 30-unit building, the developer could have resubmitted under 8-30g for a significantly bigger development.

First Selectman Fred Camillo, who was until last week a State Rep, has worked on a state level toward a moratorium on 8-30g.

Section 8-23 of the Connecticut General Statutes requires each municipality to adopt a POCD at least once every 10 years.

Great Turnout for Binney Park ‘Tree Walk’ on a Chill November Day

Bald Cypress tree in Binney Park

On a chilly November Sunday, more than 40 people braved the weather for a walk in Binney Park, including people from Greenwich and tree lovers from as far as Fairfield.

Tree lovers all, they shared their enthusiasm for trees by asking many thoughtful questions about the trees of the guides for the walk, Dr. Greg Kramer, Greenwich’s Superintendent of Parks and Trees and Lisa Beebe, Curator of the Town Arboretum.

This walk was especially meaningful since it highlighted the improvements to the Park by the Binney Park Advisory Committee, including adding a patio to the Gazebo and new plantings around it.

The Advisory Committee is planning to add connecting trails in the near future so it will be easier to navigate the park to take it all in. It’s amazing how many diverse tree species are in the Park. The walk started at a Bald Cypress tree, a conifer that loses leaves and is one of the few trees that can grow in water. After a hurricane has hit Florida, this tree is one of the few left standing.

Next up on the itinerary was a Red Horse Chestnut tree for which Lisa Beebe installed an identifying plaque as part of the Town Arboretum in Binney Park.

The walk continued with a viewing of a Sweet Gum Tree, a Larch tree, a River Birch tree, and a Dawn Redwood. This walk only touched on a small portion of tree landscape of the park. Future walks will be held in the spring when the trees will be in bloom and the weather is warmer.

The Conservancy urges Greenwich residents to visit the park. Maps for all the Town Arboretum are available at greenwichtreeconservancy.org

Free Greenwich Tree Conservancy Talk: Do Trees Talk?

The Greenwich Tree Conservancy is thrilled to be bringing Peter Wohlleben, noted author of “The Hidden Life of Trees,” to the Greenwich Library Cole Auditorium at 7:00pm on Tuesday, March 12. Refreshments will be served at 6:30pm, and a Q&A and book signing will follow the presentation. Admission is free. Registration is required. RSVP to treeconserv@optonline.net

In his best selling book, heralded as groundbreaking by the New York Review of Books, Wohlleben reveals startling new discoveries about how trees nurture each other, communicate and maintain complex social networks. He presents the latest scientific evidence behind the secret and previously unknown life of trees.

A recent Smithsonian Magazine article states that a revolution has been taking place in the understanding of trees and that scientific studies have confirmed what Mr. Wolhlleben has long suspected from close observation. “Trees are far more alert, social, sophisticated—and even intelligent—that we thought”.

This program is in partnership with the Greenwich Library and co-sponsors include the Greenwich Botanical Center, Greenwich Garden Club, Greenwich Land Trust, Audubon Connecticut, Bartlett Arboretum & Gardens, Greenwich Green and Clean, Bruce Museum, Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System and the Association of Professional Landscape Designers.

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.

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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.

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“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