New ‘Releaf Medina’ group looks to plant more trees

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 6 April 2021 at 8:10 am

Village’s urban forest has suffered from emerald ash borer

Photos courtesy of Kathy Blackburn: Members of Medina’s Releaf Medina Society stand around a diseased ash tree in State Street Park. The Society is trying to raise money to purchase trees to replace the hundreds which have been attacked by the emerald ash borer. From left are Lisa Tombari, Kathy Blackburn, Releaf Medina Society chair Robert Sanderson and Jake Hebdon.

(Editor’s Note: The Releaf Medina Society is a separate group from the Medina Tree Board. An article on Sunday said the group was part of the Tree Board.)

MEDINA – A group recently organized to address the enormous task of replacing Medina’s diseased ash trees is on a mission – to “Releaf Medina.”

The Releaf Medina Society includes chairman Robert Sanderson and members Kathy Blackburn, Jake Hebdon and Lisa Tombari. They are in the middle of a fundraiser through April 30th to help replace diseased trees, especially the ash destroyed by the emerald ash borer.

Sanderson has put together a brochure which the Society is distributing throughout Medina, telling the advantage of trees and how people can donate to the annual fund drive to purchase new trees.

Medina has more than 10 trees for every resident, one of the reasons Medina is designated by the Arbor Day Foundation as a “Tree City,” Blackburn said.

The village Department of Public Works plants, waters and maintains the village’s trees. Blackburn explained that, while the village budget provides for the planting of 25 new trees annually, more than 100 are being lost every year due to their age. The emerald ash borer is taking its toll on the village’s many ash trees, all of which will eventually have to be cut down.

Hebdon said this is a huge issue because there are so many ash trees in the village. The DPW is marking those which have to come down.

Blackburn said one tree can cost between $175 and $210, depending on the variety.

Releaf Medina Society members Jake Hebdon, Lisa Tombari, Kathy Blackburn and Robert Sanderson look at the stump of an ash tree in State Street Park which was diseased by the emerald ash borer and had to be cut down.

Many of Medina’s trees may look all right on the outside, but inside they are full of disease, she said. The village has been focusing on different varieties that will thrive the best, those with tolerance to road salt. The village makes sure the tree size is appropriate for the space where they will be planted.

There had been a plan in place to replace trees on Gwinn Street, but 21 still need to be planted from Park Avenue to Oak Orchard Street, including Gwinn Street Park.

Residents are being asked to consider a donation to the Releaf Medina Society as a legacy gift which will last 60 to 100 years. Donations of any size are tax deductible and can be made by sending a check payable to ORG/Medina Releaf Fund to P.O. Box 543, Medina, 14103. Orleans Renaissance Group is accepting donations for the Releaf Medina Society.

Donors will be invited to an Arbor Day celebration at Gwinn Street Park at 10 a.m.  April 30 with 85 third-grade students from Oak Orchard School.

“Every new tree we allow to take root and flourish is a positive step to help our planet by fighting the accelerating threats of climate change and air pollution, give wildlife shelter and food, and also provide breathtaking beauty we can all enjoy,” Blackburn said.

Special donations may be made in three different ways.

  • A general donation will be used to replace trees between streets and sidewalks. Donors will be recognized on Medina’s website and on a tree foundation sign at City Hall.
  • Donations of $300 in memory of someone will pay for trees planted in one of the village’s six parks. The tree will be identified with a plaque honoring the loved one or in recognition of a family member or organization. The donor will be contacted for wording on the plaque.
  • “On Your Street” donations are for those whose street is in need of trees and the donor has requested a specific location. Recognition will appear on Medina’s website and at City Hall. All donations go for cost of trees only. Minimum donation is $250.
  • All donations are appreciated. Levels of giving are $25 to $199 for a “Good Citizen” donor; $200 to $299 for a “Silver” donor; $300 to $499 for a “Gold” donor; and $500 and for a “Platinum” donor.

The Releaf Medina Society praised DPW Superintendent Jason Watts and the DPW crew for their support and work toward “releafing” Medina.

Volunteers are also being sought to work with the Society, especially in fundraising. Anyone interested may call Sanderson at (716) 628-1810.