‘Releaf Medina’ seeks donations to plant more trees

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 15 October 2023 at 8:43 am

Photo by Ginny Kropf: Sandy and Marcia Stornelli watch as 3-year-old granddaughter Alara throws shovels full of dirt on a tree being planted in front of their house during an Arbor Day celebration on April 28. In the stroller is Garrett, who was 8 months old at the time. Medina has been recognized as a Tree City USA the past 16 years for its commitment to planting trees.

MEDINA – Autumn is a time which brings leaves into everyone’s mind, but for one local group, trees are a focus all year round.

The village of Medina not only has a Tree Board, but a support group called Releaf Medina, formed to raise money for the village to replace dying trees, something the Tree Board is not allowed to do.

Robert Sanderson heads Releaf Medina, with members Kathy Blackburn, Jake Hebdon, Lisa Tombari and Ginny Kropf.

And now they are asking the public for donations to purchase more trees.

The village took down 51 trees this year and replanted 46, according to Blackburn. Replacing dying trees is an unending task and can be very costly, with each tree costing upwards of $200.

Kinds of trees vary, and local resident Chris Busch has researched the soil in various areas to determine which kind of trees are best suited for each location.

Information provided by Releaf Medina states that community trees are a critical element of urban life, providing countless proven environmental, economic and health benefits. Multiple studies have shown that people living in communities with trees are healthier mentally, physically and socially.

The economics of maintaining and advancing the Medina community’s urban forest has become increasingly more challenging, the Releaf Medina board explained. It’s the harsh reality of economics today, as recent years have been forestry related costs skyrocket, while municipal expenditures have struggled to keep up.

For this reason, Releaf Medina is asking citizens to contribute to the amazing living legacy of trees by making a monetary gift.

Blackburn has also issued an invitation to local businesses to consider becoming a corporate sponsor.

“Beginning in 2005 and for several years after, the Bank of Castile (now Tompkins Community Bank) was the sole corporate sponsor of Medina’s Arbor Day,” Blackburn said. “Their annual donation made a long-term community impact and helped launch what has become a renowned urban forestry program.”

Businesses becoming a corporate sponsor not only engage with their employees and investors, but also build community through the support of grassroots public environmental stewardship, according to Blackburn. It is a chance to make a tangible difference in a highly visible way that will stand for generations and leave a positive and beneficial living legacy for the future that will be seen every day.

All gifts to Releaf Medina are tax-deductible and can be made in three ways.

As a General Donation, the money helps replace street trees in neighborhoods throughout the village. Donors are recognized on a tree foundation sign at City Hall. Suggested amounts are $25 to $199 (Good Citizen); $200 to $299 (Silver); $300 to $499 (Gold); $500 and up (Platinum).

Gifts In Memory cost $300. They will fund trees placed in one of Medina’s six parks and will be identified with a granite marker honoring a loved one or in recognition of the donor’s family or organization. Memorial trees can be located on streets without a granite marker and cost $275.

To designate a tree On Your Street, the cost is $250. If the village determines a tree or trees are needed on that street, the donor may request a specific location. Those donors are also recognized on a sign at City Hall.

Checks for tree donations should be made payable to ORG/Medina Releaf and mailed to P.O. Box 543, Medina.