On a warm spring day with a slight chill in the air, a plot of land north of the Patchogue Village Parks and Recreation building laid with 14 holes in the ground was waiting to be filled.
The Conservation Tree Committee of the Village of Patchogue held an Arbor Day ceremony on April 29. The village received a Fast Start Grant from the New York State Urban Forestry Council in the amount of $1,000 in support of the event. Fourteen trees of three different species were planted as part of the ceremony, as one of several requirements to become a Tree City USA.
“Tree City USA is a designation that’s awarded by the Arbor Day society, and it means that you’ve satisfied all the criteria that they believe will help your community have a successful urban forest entry program. One of those requirements is having an Arbor Day ceremony and tree planting. Another requirement is to have the mayor’s proclamation that I read today,” said Lori Devlin, a village clerk and co-coordinator of the Conservation Tree Committee who applied for the grant. “You also need, most importantly, money. So the village has to commit $2 per capita in the budget for tree care and maintenance. That is actually $25,000, approximately, for the village [and] this is the first year that we have that in the budget.”
Other requirements to be considered a Tree City USA include having an official tree board, which will work on adding more trees in the community, and having a maintained tree inventory.
“We’re at the point now where we’ve satisfied all of the [requirements]. So I’ll be submitting that application to the Arbor Day Foundation,” said Devlin. “Once we get that certification, that strengthens our grant applications when there’s New York State funding for community trees; having a Tree City USA designation gives [us] more points in the tree application.”
Luke Beermann and Kimberly Duffy, Patchogue residents in attendance at the ceremony, donated and planted a tree in commemoration of their engagement.
“We feel really strongly about not only making an impact on an environmental global level, but also being able to start small here in the Village of Patchogue, where we are now, no pun intended, putting our own roots down, and trying to start a family and our lives together,” said Beermann. “This has felt like a perfect opportunity to literally and metaphorically set the stage for the rest of our lives, and do something meaningful.”
The couple talked about the significance of Arbor Day as they became more environmentally conscious.
“We decided that we wanted to do something for Arbor Day every year. For this year it’s our engagement,” said Duffy. “We want to start a whole tradition, and as we build a family [we want] to plant trees every year, and maybe make it into a bigger and bigger thing as our family grows.”
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