City of Elkins Tree Board Announces Friends of Trees Program

Date: October 5, 2021

Contact: Marilynn Cuonzo, Chair, Elkins Tree Board mcuonzo@cityofelkinswv.com

ELKINS-The City of Elkins Tree Board has recently reinvigorated the Friends of Trees (FOT) program which is made up of volunteers who support tree planting and greenspace projects throughout the city. Former tree board member Katy McClane, who has been active in many beautification projects associated with the WVU Master Gardener program, Emma Scott Garden Club and Elkins Main Street, serves as coordinator of this program.

Recently, FOT members assisted in cleaning up the gardens in front of City Hall and in the Darden Gardens. Future plans include tree plantings at the Kump House, tree nursery maintenance and other projects that will enhance the overall urban forest in Elkins.

“We encourage everyone to get involved,” McClane said. “There are hands-on projects as well as more research-based projects that volunteers could assist with. Everything can make a difference.”

The next Friends of Trees volunteer day is set for Saturday, October 23 beginning at 9:30 a.m. at the Kump House across the street from Kroger’s on Randolph Ave. The project includes tree plantings and deer fence installation.

For more information on the Friends of Trees program or you would like to become a member, email Katy McClane: katy.mcclane@gmail.com. Friends of Trees also offers various workshops throughout the year and, those interested are encouraged to visit the Elkins Friends of Trees Facebook page. The Elkins Tree Board meets the first Tuesday of the month at 5:30 p.m. in the Darden House adjacent to City Hall. The public is welcome to attend.

PHOTO CUTLINE: AmeriCorps member Haley Shreve (left) and Friends of Trees volunteer Paula Heinke work hard on beautifying the gardens in front of City Hall on a recent volunteer day.

2021 Adopt-A-Tree Program Accepting Applications

The City of Elkins Tree Board Adopt-A-Tree program returns this fall with a goal of having more young trees planted throughout the city. The Adopt-A-Tree program provides a free young tree to selected homeowners in each of the city’s five wards. Application deadline for residents is Friday, October 15.

Members of the Elkins Tree Board encourage residents in all five wards interested in adopting a tree to fill out the application. The selected tree owner commits to taking care of the tree for a minimum of three years and board members can provide advice throughout that period.

The young trees should be planted in front of the home or business and the type of tree will vary according to the site location. Preferred locations are in the designated tree lawn—the grassy area located between the street and the sidewalk—to help create a green, cooling canopy. The homeowner will be responsible for planting the tree within two weeks of receiving it.

The goal of the program is to cool the streetscape, provide shade for those walking on city sidewalks and encourage everyone to plant more trees in town. The benefits of planting trees are numerous. Not only do trees improve the aesthetics of a neighborhood, but they also assist with decreasing water run-off, reducing air-conditioning costs, and muffling noise pollution. Most importantly, trees remove significant amounts of carbon dioxide from the air. Excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is the major contributing factor to climate change.

Applications are available online on the Elkins Friends of Trees Facebook page and the City of Elkins website, as well as at Elkins City Hall (401 Davis Avenue). Deadline for submission is October 15, 2021, and trees will be distributed no later than October 30. For further information, contact Marilynn Cuonzo, chair, Elkins Tree Board, at 304.636.5900 or mcuonzo@cityofelkinswv.com.

The Elkins Tree Board meets the first Tuesday of each month at 5:30 p.m. in the Darden House (next door to city hall). The public is welcome to attend. The board offers workshops and volunteer opportunities throughout the year. Please visit the Elkins Friends of Trees Facebook page to learn more.

New Glendale Pollinator Garden Interpretive Sign

If you’re out and about this weekend, why not check out the new Pollinator Garden (with interpretive sign) on the Toumayan Trail (the walking trail that circles Glendale Park)?

The creation of the Glendale Pollinator Garden project was an AFNHA collaborative effort led by recent AmeriCorps member Dayla Woller.

Other key players included the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which assisted in site preparation; the WVU Extension Service, which provided the necessary biochar ); Elkins Parks and Recreation, which provided the site and installed the interpretive sign; and the Elkins Tree Board, which assisted in sign design. This new garden adds more environmental interpretation to the trail, which features several additional interpretive signs and outdoor rock spaces.

It’s on the section of trail closest to the playground. Bring the kids!

Update on Downtown Trees

From the Elkins Tree Board:

“Elkins Main Street and the Elkins Tree Board recognizes and thanks the City of Elkins Operations Department for their recent work on the downtown trees. Trimming—and removing—trees is a significant undertaking, and they have persevered.

“The urban forest is a vital part of city life. A true public resource, the downtown canopy provides shade for businesses and pedestrians, creates an inviting visual cue for visitors, and establishes habitat for birdlife; while providing positive mental benefits, sequestering carbon, and mitigating the urban heat island effect.

“So: why have some trees come down? Urban forestry is about finding the right tree for the right place. In Elkins, many trees have been planted above their right place—elevated in tree boxes. Replacing these trees in phases over time with new trees planted at grade will extend the lifetime of our urban trees, while encouraging deep root growth, which helps trees avoid damaging infrastructure.

“In mid-March, Elkins will welcome new saplings to its downtown core. With species and planting requirements thoughtfully considered, the newest city trees will help make the place we live more livable. They are an investment in tomorrow, today.”

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