Volunteers of all ages — over 30 of them — pitched in on a recent Saturday to clean up after the recent storms and hold off the “enemy” — invasive vines — along Playland Parkway in an effort to ensure that trees will flourish. The event was organized by the Rye Sustainability Committee and co-sponsored by the Westchester County Parks Department, the Bronx River Reservation Conservancy, and the Rye PBA. The PBA went the extra yard, donating garbage bags, snacks, and lunch.
Because hundreds of trees throughout the city were severely damaged or uprooted in recent Nor’easters, the need to replenish the Rye Sustainability Tree Fund is great, says Melissa Grieco, who chairs the Sustainability Committee.
Since launching the Tree Fund (“Branching Out for Rye”) in 2016, 32 individuals have donated a total of $6,300, which has been put towards the planning, planting, and pruning of native street trees. Last year, in partnership with City Planner Christian Miller and the Rye DPW (under Ryan Coyne) eight trees were planted: one Thornless Honeylocust on Purchase Street and two in the City Hall parking lot; three River Birches in “Central Park” (by the Central Avenue Bridge across from Post Road Market); one Tulip tree at Disbrow Park; and one Sugar Maple on the Village Green.
Their future planting list includes a Redbud and a Red Maple in the renovated lot at the corner of Purchase Street and the MTA access road.
Grieco and fellow Sustainability members hope not only that the City of Rye will begin to replace lost trees, but that residents will do the same on their own properties.
The virtues of trees cannot be overstated. They help cool homes and neighborhoods, add beauty, increase property values, provide food for wildlife, absorb noise, and reduce flooding.
For a number of decades, Rye was a designated Tree City, but it lost that status in 2006, reports Grieco.
“One of the goals of Branching Out for Rye,” says Grieco, is to help supplement the DPW’s limited budget for new trees. Another is for Rye to become a Tree City again.” To qualify, a city must have an annual budget for trees of at least $2 per capita, which for Rye equals $32,000.
To learn more about the effort, visit www.ryesustainability.com/rye-tree-fund.
It takes some hard-working volunteers.