Friends Of Trees

There are 3 subjects I know will always generate huge “06880” reader reactions:

Parking. Dogs. And trees.

The first 2 are predictable parts of Westport life. The 3rd may be less intuitive.

But as regularly as power goes out when the wind blows, any time I post a tree story we get comments from readers who mourn the loss of every tree. And from others who say hey, easy come, easy go.

Yet — until the other day — I had no idea that both tree huggers and Paul Bunyans could find common purpose.

That’s when alert — and arboreal-minded — reader Johanna Rossi told me about the Friends of Parks & Recreation’s Arbor Program.

Full disclosure: I didn’t even know the Friends group existed, either. They’re a  public-private partnership that finances worthwhile projects and services, beyond those paid for by tax dollars.

The website of the Friends of Parks & Recreation website includes a photo of the Longshore entrance -- before the removal of several trees lining the entrance way. New trees have taken their place.

The website of the Friends of Parks & Recreation website includes a photo of the Longshore entrance — before the removal of several trees lining the entrance way. New trees have taken their place.

One of those programs can be found on the Friends’ website  under the heading “Trees, Trees, Trees.” Launched last year, it’s a way to honor “the lives and achievements of friends and families.”

Working with Parks and Rec, tree warden Bruce Lindsay identifies locations where he’d like to plant trees. He notes the specimens and species that thrive there.

Donors can choose their location and tree. The price is based on the cost of planting, as well as a fund to support maintenance — fertilizing, watering, pruning, etc. — for 5 years.

Planting takes place in the spring and fall. Photos and biographical info can be displayed alongside the tree.

It’s a “living legacy” for people to celebrate those who, most probably, are no longer living.

There’s even a GPS locator to help identify locations and tree types. Right now, there are 2 sites: Winslow Park and Compo Beach.

Tree warden Bruce Lindsay has a plan to remove dead trees at Winslow Park -- and replace them.

Tree warden Bruce Lindsay has a plan to remove dead trees at Winslow Park — and replace them.

So the next time I post a story about tree removal, don’t click “Comments.”

Instead, donate a tree.

13 responses to “Friends Of Trees

  1. Thanks for the info Dan, that is a great way to honor someone–I love it!

  2. Many thanks, Dan, for your kind words about the Arbor Program this morning. Thank you, also, to Johanna Rossi for spotting us online and to Irene Penny for instantly appreciating how we can honor our friends and loved ones with a living tree. We at the Friends of Westport Parks & Rec are excited to be launching this program after two years of planning with the Town’s Parks & Rec Department. We hope to finalize our agreement with the Town over the next few weeks. Working with Bruce Lindsay, our Tree Warden, Director Jen Fava of our Parks & Rec Department will determine what specimen trees we would like to plant and where. The timing is good because Bruce can’t start planting until March — and with your shout out he will be sure to have lots of work to do! Meantime, allow me to remind your readers that the Friends are also accepting contributions for Tim’s Kitchen at Wakeman Town Farms, a terrific project that has drawn support from hundreds of Westporters.

  3. It would be great to see Winslow with some wonderful new young trees. But hopefully Bruce will look at getting the trees that are there in good shape too.

    • Michael Calise

      I agree Brad. Properly maintaining and protecting older trees seems to have fallen out of favor. Preserving what we have is as important as planting new trees.

    • Agreed. Winslow Park is now in an advanced free fall. It’s an utter and complete man caused disaster. Invasives like Japanese Knotweed are literally taking over. Notable trees are being harmed by vines that have been permitted to overrun them. Runoff from a kooky, ad hoc “trail” system has stripped top soil and is polluting Deadmans Brook. The last thing that poor place needs is MORE stuff for the town to destroy. Sadly, it would appear that things will have to get a whole lot worse before Parks and Rec even notices that the check engine light is on. And even then, I doubt very much that anything will happen.

  4. Don L. Bergmann

    Compliments to the story, i.e. Dan, the others mentioned and to Jeff Mayer who, I assume is the Jeff Mayer of Westport who served as Chair of the Board of Finance for many years. So many good people, very uplifting.
    Don Bergmann

  5. Hallie Picarello

    I was wondering why they removed all those beautiful tall trees at long shore. Does anybody know why they replaced them?

  6. Johanna Rossi

    I would like to see our town would get tougher on Builders, that come in and rip down all the beautiful, mature trees. If the town placed a Beautification ordinance on tear downs, perhaps they could order Builders to plant (X) –amount of trees ( some type of formula) or create a fund to replant trees town wide. Call it a Westport Beautification fund or Initiative.

    • Why not contact your RTMs and ask them where things stand with the RTM Environment Committee’s previously expressed interest in drafting a tree protection ordinance which would address the clear cutting of properties in Westport? If nothing is going on, ask when the matter will be agendized. And then show up.

  7. Dorothy Fincher

    A bit more in the tree department….should you be in the neighborhood, at the corner of Stony Brook and Woodside, look at the stunning job Bruce Lindsay and his gang are doing — clearing/planting the “old town property”. The story of how this is evolving is fun. Super storm Sandy created a “pick up sticks” of the trees in that area. Dick Fincher wanted to do something about it. He was told him he was “tilting at windmills”, mostly by his family — he persevered. With our RTM rep, they got things going and voila !!!, a lovely sight for all to enjoy is ensuing.

  8. What are the price ranges for sponsoring a tree? – Chris Woods

  9. Jeffrey Mayer

    In answer to Chris Woods’ question, trees that are now posted on our website cost $1.200. This covers the cost of planting, maintenance, and replacement within 5 years if there is any problem. In the future our Tree Warden may specify specimen trees that are more expensive. Contributions to the Friends are tax deductible. The Friends remit the total amount to the Town after deducting a service fee of $100 or 5%, whichever is greater.