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Norwalk celebrates Arbor Day

Norwalk leaders help plant a tree at Friday’s Arbor Day observance in Oak Hills Park. (Bill Wrenn)

NORWALK, Conn. — For Arbor Day 2021, Eversource and the City planted 10 new trees, in cooperation with Norwalk Public Schools, Norwalk Tree Advisory Committee, Norwalk Tree Alliance, and Oak Hills Park Authority. Eight were planted Friday in Oak Hills Park; Eversource paid for five of the trees while the City paid for three.

To meet the Arbor Day Foundation guidelines of “Planting the Right Tree in the Right Place,” three Fastigiate European Hornbeams were planted near the white house at the Oak Hills Park entrance sign, a Redmond American Linden and a Liberty Elm were planted near the Great Lawn area behind the Club House Building, and two Swamp White Oaks plus a Red Maple tree were planted in the park along Fillow Street.

Mayor Harry Rilling speaks at Friday’s Arbor Day observance in Oak Hills Park. (City of Norwalk)

The Eversource Foundation presented a $1,500 Community Impact Grant For Trees to Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling and the Norwalk Tree Alliance.  In a press release, Rilling said, “Arbor Day is always a great community event, and I appreciate the efforts of staff to ensure we can celebrate safely this year. Any day we can plant trees is a great day. Thank you to Norwalk Public Schools and Eversource for partnering with us for Arbor Day 2021. Trees are a vital resource and asset to our community. We’ve maintained our Tree City USA recognition from the National Arbor Day Foundation since 2004 and remain fully committed to expanding our tree planting program and enhancing the tree canopy around Norwalk.”

“Norwalk achieved Tree City USA recognition by meeting the program’s four requirements: a tree board or department, a tree-care ordinance, an annual community forestry budget of at least $2 per capita, and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation,” a press release said. “The Tree City USA program is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation, in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters. Norwalk is one of more than 3,600 Tree City USAs, and one of 16 in Connecticut.”

In addition to the 17th consecutive year as a Tree City USA, Norwalk also received a Tree City USA Growth Award for the 15th consecutive year “for demonstrating environmental improvement and a higher level of tree care,” a press release said.

Norwalk Superintendent of Schools Alexandra Estrella speaks at Friday’s Arbor Day observance in Oak Hills Park. (City of Norwalk)

Some fifth grade students observing COVID-19 protocols got Arbor Day-related lesson plans and Eversource gift bags, and were photographed around the Stellar Pink Flowering Dogwood at Brookside Elementary and the Sugar Maple at Kendall.   NPS Superintendent Dr. Alexandra Estrella said in the release, “Despite the pandemic, we are so pleased that our fifth graders had the opportunity to celebrate this Arbor Day and showcase their commitment as stewards of the environment. These types of hands-on learning experiences enable students to deepen their understanding of climate change, human impact on the environment and the role they can play as active members of the community. As our students develop a deep respect and appreciation for our planet now, we are confident that our future will be much brighter.”

Eversource Vegetation Management Manager Alan Carey said in the release, “I can’t think of a better way to celebrate Arbor Day than by planting a tree for the community to enjoy – especially when it’s the right tree in the right place. As environmental stewards, we plant thousands of trees across our service territory each year and donate thousands more saplings to be planted in neighborhoods and public spaces. In 2020, we planted more than 6,500 trees along power lines to replace trees that needed to be removed to deliver safe and reliable power for our customers.”

Norwalk’s Arbor Day Ceremony was livestreamed on the City’s Facebook page.

Guests at Friday’s Arbor Day observance in Oak Hills Park. (City of Norwalk)

A Norwalk Public Schools poster celebrating the planing of a tree at Kendall Elementary School. (City of Norwalk)

A Norwalk Public Schools poster celebrating the planing of a tree at Brookside Elementary School. (City of Norwalk)

A poster showing the location of new trees in Oak Hills Park. (City of Norwalk)

Guests at Friday’s Arbor Day observance in Oak Hills Park. (City of Norwalk)

Guests at Friday’s Arbor Day observance in Oak Hills Park. (City of Norwalk)

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