DeWitt The Town of DeWitt celebrated its new status as a Tree City USA Friday by planting a tree outside the David G. Klim Learning Center, located within Springfield Gardens near Le Moyne College
State and town representatives as well as children from the People In Action program — which is run out of the Learning Center — were present to honor the designation awarded to the town in April. According to DeWitt Tree Committee chair Ann Stevens, the all-volunteer committee planted more than 60 trees in 2011 and has planted 44 this year.
“I get a lot of support from the town board … but most of these people are volunteers, and they do a tremendous service to this town,” Town Supervisor Ed Michalenko said to start the celebration.
He then engaged the students of the PIA program, a non-profit organization that offers pre-school as well as afterschool programs to residents faced with limited resources, according to townofdewitt.com.
Michalenko asked a roomful of attentive kids why trees are so important, eliciting responses of “they give us oxygen,” “they provide habitat for animals” and “they give us wood for fire and furniture.”
The supervisor, who has a PhD in environmental science, then asked what would happen if he cut down all the trees in DeWitt: “During the summer, what would happen?”
He answered his own question: It would be a whole lot hotter.
“Trees help moderate our environment,” he said. “They make it cooler in the summer. The forest helps cool the temperature. It helps move rainwater … Trees do an awful lot for us, and we need to recognize that and manage that as a community.”
Mary Kramarchyk was at the event representing the state Department of Environmental Conservation, for which she is the Urban Forestry Coordinator.
“When I come to the town of DeWitt I’m very, very happy that we have such a supportive supervisor in the town, because he helps us plant more trees when we need them and where we need them,” she said.