Good news from the New York State Urban Forestry Council: the Village of Freeville has been awarded a 2018 Arbor Day Community Grant!

With funding provided by the USDA Forest Service and the NYSDEC Urban Forestry Program, the grant is intended to help New York communities celebrate Arbor Day by planting trees and to promote the establishment of community-based forestry programs.

Freeville (population 523) is one of 13 villages, towns and cities chosen to receive an Arbor Day grant this year from a field of 26 municipalities throughout the state, and is by far the smallest of the successful applicants. (Next smallest is the Village of Liverpool, a Syracuse suburb with a population of about 2,400.) Here is a link to the NYSUFC announcement:

Our successful pursuit of grant funding was a true community effort, set in motion by a listserv post from Ithaca City Forester Jeanne Grace that alerted us to the opportunity barely two months ago. We are grateful to Jeanne for her help in mobilizing interest in the project and for her expert guidance throughout the application process. (As the Freeville Community Council announced last week, Jeanne will conduct a tree-identification presentation and workshop at the Freeville United Methodist Church on April 8th.)

The Freeville Planning Board did a great job as the lead agency on the project. Longtime board member Tom Cavataio was instrumental in organizing a late-January meeting to identify potential planting locations, and almost single-handedly wrote the grant application. We likely would not have succeeded without Tom’s leadership. Other important contributions to the application were made by Justin DiMatteo (the planning board’s newest member), who created a digital map showing preferred planting sites, and Village resident Rose Borzik, who photographed the half dozen or so sites that we identified in January.

Now it’s on to the plantings. Our $1,000 grant should allow us to purchase and plant eight to ten trees this spring (stay tuned for details). That’s a fairly modest number, to be sure, but this is just the beginning. Once a volunteer tree committee is officially in place, the Village can be expected to fund annual plantings.

Ever Upward! 

–David Fogel
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