2006-12-28 / News

Jamestown again received recognition as a Tree City USA

By Michaela Kennedy

The town Tree Preservation and Protection Committee met for the last last time in 2006 on Dec. 20 to review its accomplishments of the year and discussed tree management ideas for the upcoming year.

In the tree warden’s report, David Nickerson announced that Jamestown qualifies again for recognition as a Tree City USA. Nickerson said he met with state Forester Bob Dolan, who approved new plantings on the island. However, Nickerson also noted that the town did not meet its growth quota to qualify for a tree growth award provided by the National Arbor Foundation.

When asked by committee member Patrick Driscoll what the benefits of getting a growth award would be, Nickerson said that the award measures the success of a tree growth program. “It’s like a good credit rating,” Nickerson noted, adding that the award is a notable accomplishment the town could list when looking for grants to support other activities.

According to the National Arbor Day Foundation, the tree growth award is designed to recognize achievement and encourage higher level of tree care throughout the country. Communities earn points toward the growth award by completing activities that include education and public relations as well as planting and maintenance for trees. Last year, Jamestown was the only community in Rhode Island listed for a tree growth award.

Tree committee member Judith DiBello pointed out that without the committee, the town would not have the Tree City USA standing in the first place. “This is huge,” she said about the recognition.

The committee discussed ways to track points during the year that add up to eligibility for the award. Merit is given in four different categories, and 10 points are needed to qualify for the growth award each calendar year. “We need to keep a running total,” Michael White, Planning Commission liaison to the committee, suggested.

In an ongoing discussion of the newly-created triangle park at Wolcott Avenue and High Street, DiBello showed committee members a letter to the editor printed in the Press that gave erroneous information about the trees that were planted and the sizes they will reach at full growth. “The information is wrong and it needs to be corrected,” she said. The tree warden confirmed that he planted a Japanese coral bark cherry blossom and a snow fountain cherry tree, both of which grow to a modest height and can easily be pruned. “We invested $11,000 in that island,” he added.

Visitor Edwina Cloherty suggested uploading renderings of the planted trees, made by another visitor James Rugh, in the hopes of once and for all allaying fears concerning the size of trees and whether the grown trees would block neighboring views.

Committee Chairman Emmett Turley brought up a point belabored at previous meetings that the committee should receive a plan for every tree it plants. Island resident James Rugh referred to the bylaws of the committee and noted that plans are not required for tree plantings.

In other business, White moved to purchase plaques to identify the trees in the Town Forest, which is located by the Jamestown schools, and the committee unanimously approved the motion.

In a report about the Town Forest, committee member Matthew Largess, a professional arborist, said, “The forest is turning into quite a thing for the town, and the Boy Scouts deserve a lot of credit.”

In other business, Nickerson said that if property owners keep recorded inventories of their trees, they can be compensated for trees damaged by natural disasters by applying to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. “You can get financially reimbursed from FEMA,” he said.

Nickerson also said that doing projections with i-Tree, a software suite that provides urban and community forestry analysis. He spoke with Public Works Director Steve Goslee about using computerized tree systems.

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