2006-05-25 / News

Tree committee looking for volunteers for annual tree inventory on June 17

By Michaela Kennedy

The Town Tree Preservation and Protection Committee has slated June 17 for its annual tree inventory date, when volunteers count and assess the health of trees growing on town-owned property.

At its May 16 meeting, the committee also discussed the success of the ongoing Town Forest project.

The committee agreed that the Town Forest volunteer day was a success. Tree Warden Dave Nickerson noted that most of the volunteers were Boy Scouts, "and they did a great job."

Committee Chairman Emmet Turley said it was a real family meeting where grandparents, parents, and children had a chance to plant and share this activity together. "They had a great day," Turley said.

Vice Chairwoman Judith DiBello reported that to date 85 volunteers worked around 300 hours for the forest so far.

Nickerson said that a grandfather, a father, and a son came to the forest to help plant. Nickerson noted that when the son is grown, he can return with his son and remember that he planted the tree with his grandfather. The family agreed that it was a special experience for them.

In his report, the tree warden said that logs were removed from the Town Forest in February. He also reported that the annual tree pruning contract went to Northeastern Tree Service for $7,480.

The committee agreed that regular watering is important. Nickerson noted that using private landscaping companies could become expensive, citing quotes of $35 to $40 an hour. He said he would talk to town officials about the possibility of engaging the Department of Public Works to help. DiBello said that money has been allotted in the budget for watering.

Nickerson went on to say that interpretive signs were needed, and proposed five signs: one in the middle of the forest, and one at each entrance. He said the School Committee donated $2,000 for the educational program, and $10,000 was budgeted for the whole project. Some "$12,000 has been invested so far into the project," he said, adding that $5,000 was spent for log removal. Turley asked for a list of the expenses to date for the forest.

Dolan suggested considering a dedication program for the forest. The committee decided to mark Saturday, June 17, for the tree inventory date this year.

Dolan said that the committee needed volunteers to go out in groups on designated streets in the morning. He said the groups would go up the streets and take note of the trees and their conditions. The volunteers would also identify new specimens and note places where new trees could go.

DiBello passed out a tree inventory data sheet used in the past for committee members to review.

In the tree planting update, Nickerson said no trees were planted yet at the corner of High Street and Walcott Avenue. He also said that many trees that have been planted in other areas were "technically unacceptable because they were buried too deep." Nickerson pointed out that this was a serious problem because the trees might die after five or six years.

Committee Secretary Bob Dolan said he met with the town administrator to ask about creating a deputy tree warden from the Department of Public Works. "This is one of the things the town administrator will look at as he is reviewing the larger picture," Dolan said, referring to the duties of that department.

Dolan went on to say that the public property along North Main Road abutting the town-owned

golf course had growth that blocked the view across the island. He asked that the committee write a letter to the Town Council requesting that the brush be removed. "The third hole has brush, and trees along the road are hiding the golf course on the outside of the stone wall," he said. Nickerson agreed it was a good idea, noting that the town was already paying for trees to come down along the front of the golf course

In a discussion of attendance, Turley passed out an attendance record for this year. He said that in a telephone conversation with committee member Frank Andres, Andres agreed to step down.

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