By Larry Hamilton | Contributor
I am very pleased to report that the Charlotte Roadside Tree Restoration project has just been presented with a new and very generous contribution that will allow it to shift from maintenance into a new phase of planting. Sincere thanks go to Dr. Alice Outwater for this unexpected gift. Alice is a former resident of Charlotte, now living in South Burlington but retaining a strong attachment to Charlotte. She is a regular contributor to The Charlotte News and a regular participant in Charlotte Senior Center programs, in addition to other public events.
Since 2006, the Tree Fund has received a steady flow of donations both large and small, and this has enabled us to plant 445 trees on public land (mostly along roadsides for shade and beauty). Much of this was due to a private donation from William Rutter, a summer resident at Thompsons Point, plus a multitude of small gifts from Charlotters in a fundraising campaign of 2007. Earlier this past year, another gift from Mr. Rutter and gifts made by friends at my 90th birthday celebration allowed us to plant several more trees in the autumn and replace a few.
Tree team volunteers Sue Smith, Mark Dillenbeck, Annemie Curlin, Vince Crockenberg and Roger Richmond have assisted the Tree Warden in monitoring all these trees and doing the needed regular maintenance of staking, removing competing vegetation, installing rodent guards and limb pruning. Before this recent donation, we had only limited funds for additional planting. Now, with this help from Alice, we can carry out two new programs:
The establishment of a group of trees to provide much-needed shade around the playground equipment at the Town Beach. Such planting would make this open area not only more pleasant in summer for both adults and children, but also more useful, since there are now times in summer when the metal equipment is too hot to touch. In this, we are working with the Recreation Committee, which is in charge of the area, and with Selectboard member Carrie Spear who brought the problem to our attention.
With any remaining funds, to re-establish the program of encouraging private landowners to plant shade trees on their own land (just outside of the town right-of-way) along some of our roads. Through a contractual maintenance agreement with the town and payment of $75 toward the cost of each tree, a landowner can arrange for the planting of such trees through the Tree Warden and the Tree Fund (which will cover the remaining cost of planting stock and the cost of planting). The landowner formally assumes responsibility for on-going care and maintenance of the trees. A minimum row of five trees is required, with utility lines, scenic views and traffic safety issues to be avoided. We currently have 10 of these arrangements in effect in town, and they are much appreciated. A new round of this activity will be announced and geared up after the playground initiative is completed.
Thank you again, Alice Outwater, for making these initiatives possible!
Larry Hamilton is the volunteer Charlotte tree warden. He is professor emeritus at Cornell University and a senior advisor to the International Union for Conservation of Nature World Commission on Protected Areas.
CAPTION: Row of trees along Spear Street in East Charlotte on Steve Denton’s property, planted in 2008. Photo: Larry Hamilton