by Marcy Denker (Originally published on Nyack News and Views)
A village’s trees are part of its architecture and ecosystem. They help define the character of the streets and yards and provide important environmental benefits. They also can present risks, especially when they are improperly placed and poorly maintained.
Today, many community tree groups and parks departments have developed programs that combine municipal and volunteer resources to maintain and expand healthy, safe community forests. They recognize the value of trees in managing stormwater and combating the effects of climate change, and they see the need to anticipate losses due to invasive insect pests and diseases, storm damage, and natural aging.
Nyack is forming a new tree committee to plan for the care and expansion of the village trees, and interested residents are invited to join. Once the Tree Committee is up and running and after an Arbor Day celebration in the spring, the village will be eligible to become a Tree City USA, an important step in receiving technical support and funding from the NYS DEC Urban and Community Forestry Council. The standards for Tree City designation are an annual budget of at least $2 per capita, a Tree Committee, a Tree Ordinance and an Arbor Day celebration.
The goals of the committee will include:
- Developing a Community Forestry Management Plan including education, outreach, and a planting and maintenance program, based on a complete tree inventory.
- Supporting the Planning Board and Building Department in an advisory role.
- Enhancing and supporting the efforts of the Village’s Consulting Arborist in an advisory role.
- Reviewing and recommending improvements to code provisions related to trees.
- Reviewing and recommending design guidelines related to trees.
- Continuing to develop plans for planting and stewardship and monitor the forestry program.
The village applied last fall for an Urban Forestry grant for a complete tree inventory and report and hopes to be awarded the grant and complete the work this year. One purpose of an inventory is to identify potential planting sites so that the village can increase the tree canopy over time.
Interested Nyack residents, including high school students, are encouraged to contact Marcy Denker at firstname.lastname@example.org. Dedication, enthusiasm, and good outreach and organizational skills are as important as prior knowledge of trees!