Releaf Medina launching second annual fundraising drive to replace trees

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 24 January 2022 at 8:07 am

File photo: Members of Medina’s Releaf Medina Society stand around a diseased ash tree in State Street Park last spring. The Society is doing a second annual fundraising drive 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.

MEDINA – The Releaf Medina Society is preparing to launch its second annual fund drive from Feb. 1 through Arbor Day on April 29.

Funds collected will be used to replace the many trees in Medina which have to be cut down, mostly due to the Emerald Ash Borer.

The Society is delighted with the success of the drive last year, which raised $8,225, said Kathy Blackburn, a member of the Releaf Medina Society.

The Releaf Society was formed to create an organization to which residents could make donations to help restore the estimated 100 trees a year which are dying. Blackburn explained that while Medina also has an official tree board, because it is a village organization, it cannot accept monetary donations. She also stressed they also work closely with the Medina Tree Board.

The Releaf Society operates under the umbrella of the Orleans Renaissance Group, a non-profit organization, which makes donations tax deductible.

Last year, donations enabled the village to plant 12 trees, while 35 were taken down. This year, the village will be able to plant 42 trees, costing between $199 and $300 each. Donations enable the donor to request a tree be planted in honor or in memory of a loved one. Flyers  with application forms are available in various locations throughout the village, online or by calling Blackburn at (585) 734-5801.

A general donation of any amount will be used to replace trees between streets and sidewalks. A donation to designate a tree in memory or in honor of someone costs $300. Those trees will be planted in one of the village’s six parks and will be identified with a black granite plaque.

The minimum donation to request a tree be planted on your street or in a specific locations is $250. The donor’s recognition will appear on Medina’s website and at City Hall. There are also other levels of donations, which are identified in the flyer.

Blackburn added that donations are used for the purchase of trees only. Planting, watering and maintenance is done by the Medina Department of Public Works employees.

Donations may be sent in the form of a check payable to Medina Releaf Fund, in care of ORG, P.O. Box 543, Medina, 14103.

Trees are needed on all village streets, in all six parks and in Boxwood Cemetery, Blackburn said.

On April 29, the Releaf Society will sponsor a celebration on the east end and south side of South Avenue, with students from the third grade at Oak Orchard Elementary School. The time will be announced closer to the event, and the public will be invited.

Blackburn said the black granite markers which were ordered last year were delayed due to the lack of etching material, caused by the Covid pandemic. They have finally arrived and owners will be notified when they will be placed and where their tree is planted.

Other exciting news is the addition of a volunteer forestry coordinator, Blackburn said. Chris Busch of Medina has offered to take on the task of researching what species of trees are suitable for different locations and soil conditions and if an existing tree does or doesn’t meet the criteria for removal.

In addition to Blackburn, members of the Releaf Medina Society are Bob Sanderson, chair; Lisa Tombari, Jake Hebdon and Virginia Kropf.