4/16/2009

Buffalo's Teaching Tree Farm

Posted by MJ



Image - Locust St - Lockport NY

Long time no post ;) House work has kept me busy busy... I did come across this "idea in action" over at Buffalo Rising.

A "teaching tree farm" is planned and ready for planting on the site of former ramshackle, abandoned homes on Buffalo's west side.


The tree farm will encompass two abandoned city lots at 309-315 14th Street between Vermont and Rhode Island streets, and will be installed with the first trees planted on Friday, April 24th, and Saturday, April 25th. Used to train area youth to
learn the craft of raising seedlings to become trees large enough for planting along Buffalo's city streets, the initiative was established through a grant given to *Re-Tree WNY by the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo.


The Youth Forestry Crew Initiative will employ twelve youth and a supervisor that will work for the entire season managing the tree farm, watering trees and working with the City Forester, Jeff Brett, to do regular pruning along our city streets....



I personally love this idea. Many municipalities throw out the "cost" issue as a reason for not being able to replenish the tree canopy along the streets. But as any home owner knows, once spring thaw hits there are more than enough tree seedlings already finding their way out of the yard. If left alone they grow much quicker than one would expect. Small 6" seedlings also cost a small fraction of a more mature tree price. No need to buy them at the larger more expensive "ready to plant" stage.

What would it take for the Lockport DPW to section of a part of their yard to start growing some trees? How hard would it be to keep them watered and growing until large enough to plant? Would they allow volunteers to tend to them during business hours or would union rules get in the way? There are already numerous volunteers in out city whom greatly add to our quality of life. With today's interest in "green" lifestyles, nature, etc I think young enthusiastic volunteers would be easy to find if given the proper tools.

Paul Maurer, Chairman of Re-Tree WNY, puts this into perspective: "If you give these trees on just this one property three years of growth and they're replanted in the city, we just became more cost-efficient by about $29,000. Our whole City of Buffalo initiative could be supplied by four such farms yielding 480 trees per year and will only cost us about $5,000 for the materials. Plus, we will have made a lot of future foresters out of our inner-city children. It's a great 'win- win'. We are very grateful to the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo for giving us this grant."


Trees can be low cost if allow ourselves to set up a system to nurture them on our own.

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