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Lest We Forget the City of Trees…

The importance of our Urban Forest cannot be under estimated. We all know that trees are a valuable resource to our City: they add beauty and charm to our streets, increase the value of nearby properties, and provide shade that decreases energy costs for homes.
Studies have demonstrated that trees have a positive effect on many aspects of people’s lives, including their health, homes, businesses, communities, drinking water, and air quality.

City-wide, in June of 2003 (pre-storm) American Forests conducted an Urban Ecosystem Analysis for the City of Buffalo to determine our tree cover area and the services that our urban forest provides in terms of air pollution removal, carbon storage and sequestration, and storm water runoff control. The study found that our trees perform valuable services for the City of Buffalo despite a 12% canopy cover. This included the removal of 335,000 pounds of pollutants from the city’s air, a service valued at $826,000 annually. Buffalo’s trees also provide substantial storm water benefits valued at approximately $34.3 million annually in avoided costs. Furthermore, Buffalo’s urban forest stored 133,878 metric tons of carbon with an annual sequestration of 1,042 metric tons.

Unfortunately, these city-wide ecological benchmarks are no longer valid, the October 2006 Surprise Snow Storm drastically reduced this number by destroying 8,400 mature trees throughout the city and damaging many more reducing our current canopy below its previously low level.    

However, to date, between the efforts of the Olmsted Parks Conservancy, Re-Tree WNY, Buffalo Green Fund and all of the volunteers that have helped, together as a community we have planted a total of 4,700 trees in the City of Buffalo in the two years following the storm thanks to the efforts of people like you!

As we are all longing for spring, Re-Tree WNY has already been planning for it and now is the time for you to begin planning your neighborhood tree planting. This is Re-Tree WNY’s seasonal call for planting groups, block clubs, schools, and organizations to step forward and begin reserving trees for this Spring.

In an effort to continue ongoing reforestation efforts, Re-Tree WNY is partnering with the City of Buffalo to again provide free trees and supplies to plant within the public right-of-way (between sidewalk and street curb) and non-Olmsted parks in neighborhoods this Spring on May 2nd & 3rd.

If you are interested in doing a neighborhood tree planting this Spring in the City of Buffalo, Re-Tree WNY is asking all interested groups to follow the steps outlined below in order to secure trees for the planting:

Step 1:  Register your group here: www.city-buffalo.org/retreewny

Step 2:  Once your registration has been received and accepted, you will be able to access the online tree-planting database at the same site.

Step 3:  The online tree-planting database will show specific locations in your neighborhood that have been pre-approved for tree planting.  From this database, you can reserve your tree planting locations for the spring.

Step 4:  After you have chosen the locations for your trees, you may choose a species from the suggested list provided by the database for each location. At this time, we cannot guarantee that the species you choose will be the species you receive, but we will do our best to honor selections.

Step 5:  If this is your first neighborhood tree planting with us stay alert for further information regarding a MANDATORY tree planting informational session provided by the Olmsted Parks Conservancy. Otherwise all groups will receive regular reminders on upcoming dates and steps to be taken before the planting weekend.

All trees must be reserved by March 16th, 2009!

If you have any questions about the availability of trees or planting locations please call the City of Buffalo at 311.

Important Dates:

March 16th – Reservation closes for City of Buffalo

In April – Training dates/Locations to be announced

May 1st – Pick-up of trees by groups/ organizations

May 2nd & 3rd – Planting of Trees

Additional information on Re-Tree WNY is available on-line at www.re-treewny.org

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