It’s been eight years since the October Storm took out countless trees in Buffalo. Since that time, there has been a concerted effort to reforest the “City of Trees”, mainly thanks to the organization Re-Tree and its mission to replant 30,000 trees. Today Re-Tree is on the verge of reaching its goal, and with the help of local volunteers,community organizations, businesses, 2014 will be the year that sees the herculean effort realized.
Eight years after “arborgeddon”, Buffalo can finally start to close a chapter of a book that is still crystal clear in the eyes of many. The final push to reach the 30,000 tree mark now comes in the form of a campaign that asks for $50 donations from the community, which will then be matched by Buffalo News Publisher Emeritus Stanford Lipsey, National Grid, and the Buffalo Green Fund Inc. (through mid-October). The money raised will then be used to plant trees in areas that are, to this day, still in need of reforestation. “We hope this is the last time we need to appeal for funding,” stated Paul D. Maurer, Co-Founder and Chairman of Re-Tree, “we hope that soon the entire area will be greened up to pre-storm levels thanks to this final campaign!”
To date, Re-Tree has planted 26,565 street and park trees. As a “Thank You”, anyone who donates to this final effort will have his or her name (or business/organization) published in The News. It was Lipsey who first went to bat for Buffalo trees after the damage from the October Surprise came to pass. “Stan was quick to step-up and give us our financial start when we approached him years ago. Without him, I don’t think our area would be anywhere near as re-treed as it is now,” said Maurer. “Now, he is there for us once again, and his paper is still sticking with us till the final tree is planted in Buffalo!”
National Grid was one of the first companies to witness the initial damage first hand. After clearing debris and restoring power lines, efforts were turned towards helping Re-Tree – to the tune of $175,000 in donations*. “Our crews witnessed first-hand the devastation to the area’s tree canopy, so we were motivated to help our area to fund the tree planting that Re-Tree had begun,” said Dennis Elsenbeck, Area Manager for National Grid. “We are now here to help them finish the great job that they started, by giving money to match what individuals donate to the News campaign.”
The Buffalo Green Fund, Inc. is also onboard as a matching donor, continuing on with its own mission to strengthen the arboriculture of Buffalo. “Our whole purpose for many, many years has been to be stewards of the great tree heritage that is quite unique to Buffalo,” stated Cindy Sterner Kincaide, the Chairman of the Buffalo Green Fund, Inc. “We cherish what few cities in the world can boast about, but Buffalo can, that we have lovely streets with a lush canopy of green…this donation to Re-Tree helps to bring this back for all to enjoy!”
All donated funds are tax-deductible. Memorials are encouraged. All names will be published in the Buffalo News and online at www.re-treewny.org.
Donations can be sent to:
PO Box 282
Buffalo, NY 14202-0282
Make checks payable to Green Fund, Inc./Re-Tree Buffalo
*National Grid is donating another $20,000 as part of the Re-Tree match effort, and has committed to as much as $20,000 more over two years as part of its own long-standing “10,000 Trees and Growing” program. That program offers municipalities the opportunity to received $50 per tree that meets program guidelines regarding trees planted in and around overhead electric wires. Interested municipalities need to apply directly to National Grid for this program.