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Adams tree group puts beautification plan into action

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ADAMS — Japanese lilac, northern red oak and crab apple trees were planted Friday on East Church Street, becoming some of the 63 that will soon line village streets.

Planting of trees by employees of All Seasons Landscaping and Garden Center, Lowville, which will continue through Tuesday, marks the completion of two years of planning by the seven-member Adams Tree Revitalization Committee.

In 2012, the small group secured an $8,351 grant for the project from the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s Urban and Community Forestry program. The village of Adams matched that amount with cash and in-kind services.

Other varieties to be planted include callery pear, Norway spruce, columnar oak, northern catalpa, greenspire linden, shademaster locust and oak-leaf mountain ash trees. They’ll be planted along Hungerford Avenue and East Church, Phelps, South Park, Liberty, South Main, Roberts and Wardwell streets.

“Our goal is to make our community a better place to live and work,” said Elizabeth A. Walker, committee chairwoman. “We want the streets of our community to be warm and inviting.”

The state Urban and Community Forestry program makes it possible for small groups, such as the Adams committee, to develop successful plans to enhance their community’s landscape with trees, said DEC Region 6 forester Glen W. Roberts, who works in Lowville. Mr. Roberts, who assisted the Adams group, said communities that submit informative grant applications have a good chance of acquiring grants.

“Forming a tree committee or board is a way for communities to develop it in a way that will make it competitive for these grants,” Mr. Roberts said. “There’s a lot of potential out there because trees are so important in our communities. It’s important for people to learn more about them and take better care of them. Planting a couple a year in a small community can make a big difference.”

Mr. Roberts encourages tree committees to partner on projects with DEC officials who conduct tree inventories and offer guidance on grant applications. The tree inventory completed in Adams, for example, offered a broad snapshot of the number and composition of trees. That wealth of knowledge helped inform the committee as it decided where to plant particular tree varieties.

“You may want to match trees at a site, but we also want to have diversity,” he said. “Planting 20 of the same trees is not going to make you competitive for a grant. You have to do your homework.”

Tree committees can be started by only a few people, Mr. Roberts said. A blend of volunteers with different skills is beneficial “because some people are good at grant writing and others are more interested in planting trees. It’s also good to have people on the town board or chamber of commerce.”

The village of Sackets Harbor garnered a $5,000 grant from the state Urban and Community Forestry program in 2008, which was matched by the village with funding and in-kind services.

Kelly E. Reinhardt, who spearheaded the effort to start a tree group in the village, has served on the city of Watertown’s tree committee since 1996. Committee members planted a mixture of 58 trees in the village thanks to the grant-funded project, and volunteers from the group continue to plant trees every year.

“We’ve planted 120-plus trees in three or four years, and it’s something that is going to make a difference,” Ms. Reinhardt said, adding the group meets periodically.

Ms. Reinhardt had plenty of help from experts to plan the project. Coming in handy were connections with engineers at Bernier, Carr & Associates in Watertown, where she works as the director of business development and community relations. She also had assistance from her father, Lonny L. Reinhardt, who serves as the village of Sackets Harbor’s public works superintendent.

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