The tree canopy of Pound Ridge will continue to expand this Arbor Day, thanks to a Tree City USA grant awarded to the town by the New York State Urban Forestry Council.
“We’re pretty excited about this,” said Conservation Board member, Ellen Grogan, who worked on the grant application with fellow Conservation Board member and councilwoman Carla Brand.
The grant provides funding for the purchase of a large “specimen” tree to be planted within the community. A specimen tree is generally noteworthy due to its size, rarity or prominent placement. In this case, Pound Ridge has proposed planting a large white oak tree on a section of the town’s bike path that overlooks a small pond. The planting ceremony will be part of Pound Ridge’s Earth/Arbor Day celebration April 30, 2021.
Although the town already boasts robust vegetation, Ms. Grogan said there were a variety of reasons for pursuing additional plantings. In the face of invasive species, such as the emerald ash borer, she explained it was important for the town to replenish its environmental resources. Expanding the tree canopy may also improve the quality of life for residents, as studies have found a correlation between urban greenspace and mental well-being.
“We value our trees and particularly at this time we have found our wooded preserves and nature areas so valuable in the time of COVID-19,” Ms. Grogan said, “so we figured this planting would be a great opportunity.”
The Tree City USA grant that makes this Pound Ridge planting possible was specifically established to recognize municipalities that have maintained the status of “USA Tree City” for at least five years. To achieve this title, participating communities must fulfill the following requirements: operate a Tree Board, create a tree care ordinance, document at least $2 per capita toward the planting, care and removal of city trees, and pass an official Arbor Day proclamation.
The white oak to be planted in Pound Ridge also carries a special significance. In an Oct. 2 community update, Supervisor Kevin Hansan said the tree “will be dedicated to the essential workers and first responders who have supported the Town tirelessly during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Part of the $930 grant will fund a dedication plaque for these workers at the base of the tree. As the tree matures, Mr. Hansan said, it will serve as a reminder to future Pound Ridgers of the essential role these people play in the community — with or without a crisis.