Tonawanda News — Following a similar initiative by North Tonawanda Common Council President Rich Andres last week, a corp of volunteers have planted dozens of trees throughout the city throughout the last two weeks.
Mayor Rob Ortt said the trees were acquired through Re-Tree Western New York, a program first established to reforest the area after the devastating surprise October storm six years ago.
The trees were planted in several areas around the city by an all-volunteer group along Ruie Road, Vanderbilt and Deerfield streets, as well as the city’s botanical gardens on Sweeney Street and at the North Tonawanda Middle School.
Princess Diana Serviceberry, Red Oak Eastern Redbud, Prairie Fire Crabapple, Tulip and Cascade River Birch are some of the species acquired and planted.
Environmental Committee Chairman Brian Murphy organized this year’s effort and was assisted by committee members Ray Gang and Paul Lehman.
Additional volunteers from the Girl Scouts of the United States of America and students of the North Tonawanda School District also participated in this year’s planting initiative.
“We had noted the lack of trees around such a large public building, and with the support of school administration, gone ahead and planned for a majority of the trees to be planted at the Middle School site,” Murphy said.
Re-Tree WNY was established on November 3, 2006 by a group of 40 Western New York residents who saw first-hand the devastation done to Western New York’s living resource and decided to take action to re-forest every public area that was destroyed by the freak October snowstorm that year.
Their mission is the same as their name, according to the group — to re-tree WNY with the goal being to replace the approximately 30,000 trees that were damaged or destroyed. To date, the organization and a host of volunteers in various communities have planted 24,500 trees.