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Town of DeWitt, named Tree City in April, celebrates Arbor Day in fall

DeWitt Town Supervisor Ed Michalenko engages the students of the People In Action program during an “Arbor Day” celebration held at the David G. Klim Learning Center Friday.

DeWitt Town Supervisor Ed Michalenko engages the students of the People In Action program during an “Arbor Day” celebration held at the David G. Klim Learning Center Friday. Photo by Ned Campbell.

— Brian Skinner, Senior Forester for National Grid, talked about the company’s 10,000 Trees and Growing program. He said it was started in 1998 following the Labor Day storm “to help communities replace their trees in a smart way by planting the right tree in the right place, primarily putting low growing trees underneath the utility lines.”

DeWitt has participated in the program for the last five years, and in that time National Grid has helped fund the planting of more than 80 trees in the community, Skinner said.

The program awards municipalities that become Tree Cities by planting a tree on Arbor Day, and Skinner planted the tree, a Kousa Dogwood, that now stands outside the Learning Center.

“Most people think Arbor Day is in April and typically, in New York State, it can be,” Skinner explained, “but any community can designate Arbor Day any day of the year they want. So this year DeWitt decided to have it at this time of the year ... when everybody is available.”

The tree, often called a Japanese Dogwood, has a life expectancy of 60 years, will grow to around 18 to 20 feet and will bloom creamy white flowers in late spring, he said.

“It’s not subject to a lot of the ills that the native Dogwood is,” he said. “The native Dogwood is disappearing, it’s being killed by a couple different diseases, where this one is pretty much pest-free.”

People In Action

PIA is designed to meet the needs of children and adults whose primary language is not English. It is located within Springfield Gardens Apartments, which has become a preferred location for refugees emigrating to the U.S., particularly from war-torn European and Middle Eastern countries, according to the town website.

He asked that the kids not hang from the tree’s branches, as they break easily.

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