Milford Trees, Inc.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Arbor Day and Neighborhood Tree Plantings 2006

By Mary Ludwig

April and May are excellent tree planting months and several groups of Milford residents jumped at the opportunity to enhance several areas of the city with trees. On Arbor Day, the last Friday in April, Milford Trees, Inc.’s (MTI) President, Mary Ludwig coordinated a tree planting event with Tree Warden, Irwin Langewisch and Alternative Education School teacher, Kelly Graham. Ms. Graham’s twelve students planted eight arborvitae (Eastern white cedars) around the flagpole on The Green downtown and planted two arborvitae by the gazebo. The trees were raised as seedlings in Shadyside Nursery on Gulf Pond and were acquired through MTI’s National Tree Trust grant. Regine Vitale, MTI member, manages the extensive job of running the nursery with help from volunteers.

Later that same day, a Redbud tree was planted in memory of Michael Wilcock’s beloved mother, Peggy Wilcock, who passed away last year. Mike’s fellow workers and friends from Sikorsky raised the money to purchase the flowering tree that is planted at the eastern end of the downtown Green. After the ceremony with friends gathered around the tree, Mike expressed his thanks to all involved for their help in planting such a beautiful specimen. Peggy’s special tree is the first planned planting in the Legacy Arboretum, a municipal arboretum being developed by the Tree Commission, Milford Trees, Inc., Public Works and Landscape Architect, Ed Vaughn, who was hired through an America the Beautiful grant from Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection.

One week later on Shelter Cove off Gulf Street, another tree planting event took place because of one man’s remarkable effort to keep trees in his neighborhood. Public Works had pruned and removed a number of unsafe trees along the median and when the Tree Warden said there was not enough money in the City’s budget to replace the trees, he challenged the interested Shelter Cove resident, Victor Lamberti, to raise money in the neighborhood to purchase replacement trees with a promise that Public Works would help plant them. Tree Commissioner, Steve Wing, received a phone call from Mr. Lamberti to see what he could do and the wheels began to turn.

Mr. Lamberti immediately sent out a flyer to his neighbors asking for donations to replace the trees and before the end of the week, he raised $850 dollars. After phoning Mary Ludwig and discussing the next steps, Victor donated the check to nonprofit Milford Trees, Inc. for the purchase of 10 Kousa dogwoods from Millanes Nursery. Once the trees were brought to Shadyside Nursery to wait for a planting date, Langewisch scheduled Public Works equipment and manpower time while Ludwig coordinated planting time with Ms. Graham’s Alternative Education School students and Milford Trees, Inc. volunteers.

Prior to the planting dates, Public Works dug the holes to loosen the soil and backfilled for safety reasons. On Friday, May 5th, a bright sunny day, the tree planting project began when the bus arrived with the students at 9:30 A.M. The hard working young teens put some real muscle into digging and planting the dogwoods and within two hours planted five of the dogwoods before returning to school. Milford Trees, Inc. provided the juice and cookies to thank the energetic students for being such a helpful and positive working group. Mary Ludwig, who photographed the students working, is providing each with a CD of the project for a keepsake of their involvement and good work.

Many thanks go to the following students involved in the tree plantings: Christina Frey, Justin Frey, Chris Glover, Derek Hill, Jason Jacobs, Jeanne Keller, Mike Mangan, Kat McFadden, Katie O’Brien, Hector Ortiz, Tori Palinkas, Sara Pimenta, Scott Quirion, Delphine Raseman, Jon Velazquez and Kyle Wheeler.

The following day, Saturday, May 6th, Milford Trees volunteers along with a couple of Tree Commissioners and Mike Moura from Public Works planted the rest of the dogwoods and mulched them in to retain moisture for the feeder roots. Watering will be an important part of the trees’ first year and Victor Lamberti volunteered to accept that responsibility. Victor and his wife, Judy, have planted many other trees including one weeping Cherry tree in memory of their daughter, Anna. Their neighbors purchased that memorial tree, also.

Successful tree planting events, such as these, involve people who care about their community and people who bring their community to life by being positively and actively involved. Mr. Lamberti showed how one person can make a difference in his own neighborhood and by doing so, he created a model for other neighborhoods in Milford. Most neighborhoods do not have a center island but by working with Milford Trees, Inc., Milford Tree Commission and Public Works, we can find ways to plant more trees in the City. Good communication and commitment are key to the success of any tree planting program and Victor Lamberti set a high standard for other neighborhoods to follow. It can be done! For further information about planting trees in your neighborhood, please call 874-8665.