Medina celebrates Arbor Day on Friday with 46 new trees to be planted
Press Release, Village of Medina, Municipal Tree Board
MEDINA – In the Village of Medina, Spring means Arbor Day.
Arbor Day, observed nationally on the last Friday of April, this year falls on April 28. Medina’s observance will be held at the on the east end, south side of Frank Street near West Avenue in the village. This year’s celebration will include 2nd and 3rd graders from Medina Central Schools, along with the Oak Orchard Glee Club.
The Arbor Day 2023 celebration will begin at approximately 10 a.m. on the east end Frank Street near West Avenue, and will include the reading of the Arbor Day Proclamation by Mayor Mike Sidari. The trees will planted by the Medina DPW. Medina Central School’s 2nd and 3rd graders will be on hand to help plant the trees and celebrate the day along with a performance by the Oak Orchard Glee Club.
“Forty-six trees in all will be planted this year,” said Kathy Blackburn, Tree Board Chair. “Planting sites include Frank Street, William Street, West Avenue, Butts Park, State Street Park and Boxwood Cemetery.”
“Each year we gain ground in our efforts to reforest the community,” Blackburn said. “Forty-six trees is an excellent planting. That said, we removed nearly 50 old and dying trees this year, so we’re nowhere near running out of annual planting that needs to be done.”
The Tree Board’s focus has been a three-pronged approach for several years: Main arteries and Central Business District area, parks, and high-need residential areas.
“The need for plantings in all of these areas continues,” Blackburn said. “Many of our main roads are looking great, but we continue to plug holes created by removals. Trees in our parks are vastly improving and we’re beginning to make headway in our residential areas. There’s still so much to be done.”
Multiple sources of research on the impact of street trees cite numerous benefits, including increase property values, slower/ safer traffic patterns, lower urban air temperatures, and absorption of harmful pollution. Research from 2017 also indicates street trees in neighborhoods result in lower blood pressure and improvement to overall emotional and psychological health.
Arbor Day 2023 will mark the 16th year Medina’s urban forestry program has been a participant in the Tree City USA program of the National Arbor Day Foundation. The annual Tree City award honors Medina’s commitment to community forestry.
The Tree City USA Program is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation in cooperation with the National Association of State Foresters, and the USDA Forest Service. Tree City USA is awarded annually to those communities who qualify and is a national designation.
Medina’s Municipal Tree Ordinance and Arbor Day Celebration have been a model for several other communities looking to establish a board and planting program. Medina receives multiple inquiries for assistance and advice every year from municipalities across the state.
The village maintains a policy of diversity in its urban forest plantings. Species to be planted this year include American Hornbeam, Pagoda dogwood, Gingko, Sweetgum, Tupelo, London Plane sycamore, Sargent cherry, Northern pin oak, and varieties of Elm and Maple.
Blackburn emphasizes that while the village makes great progress each year, there remains much to be done. With increasing costs and limited funding, the task is challenging.
“Everywhere, municipal budgets are tight and the cost of plant material has seen double-digit percentage increases in the last seven years,” Blackburn said. “Each year we remove 40-plus trees that are dead, dying and hazardous. The upside is we replace those trees with new, more desirable cultivars.”
Chris Busch, Medina’s Forestry Coordinator, states that the science of street trees and urban forestry has come a long, long way in the last 40 years.
“At the turn of the nineteenth century when most of our village forest was planted, there was little choice for a street tree – elms and oaks were the more expensive option, and Silver maple was the cheaper option,” Busch explained. “Municipalities were interested in large, fast-growing trees that created beautiful tree-lined streets.”
Busch further explained that despite looking very nice, those trees caused big problems.
“One hundred years later, these trees are massive at nearly 70-plus feet and create numerous issues with infrastructure, safety and utilities,” he said. “Today, thanks to extensive research and breeding, there are literally hundreds of cultivars in every shape and size. These are definitely not your great-grandparents street trees! When taking into consideration various limitations on any site, we can select the right tree for the right spot and insure a much healthier and desirable village forest.”
“Thankfully, the community has been extremely generous in donating funds for trees, both as memorials and general plantings.” said Blackburn. “People see the importance of trees in the village and enjoy the aesthetic impact. We’re incredibly grateful for the financial support we receive through our annual Community Releaf Fund Drive.”
According to Blackburn, donations can be made anytime for general tree planting, memorial trees or for “trees on your street.” Additional information can be obtained at the Village Clerk’s Office or by downloading the Releaf brochure online at villagemedina.org.
“Now more than ever, financial support in the form of gifts and donations from the public are critical,” said Blackburn. “Such support is vital for the future.”