Tree Warden Leah Grigorov stands by a tree during one of the activities the Tree Committee did during Arbor Day week.
Photo credit: Lou Kornet

LONGMEADOW — The purpose of the Longmeadow Town Tree Committee is to promote a healthy and sustainable community forest. For over 20 years, the town has been awarded Tree City USA.

Committee member Lou Kornet said, “One of our goals is to inform town residents of the many positive aspects of trees. It’s an educational process; we want to make sure we educate people on the value of our town’s tree canopy and its importance to the environment.”

He continued, “It’s an ongoing commitment to maintain our tree canopy. The certification we have with the Tree City USA award indicates our commitment to this, and it’s backed by our town officials and community residents.”

The Tree Committee deals with the development of rules, regulations, tree inventories, manuals and other data, in conjunction with the Tree Warden; public education and coordination with other Town committees and civic groups; and working in conjunction with the Tree Warden to seek grants or other assistance concerning the preservation and maintenance of trees in town. Their formal programs revolve around Arbor Day and Arbor Week, tree plantings and school visits. Arbor Day celebrates trees and the vital role they play in the world, a tradition Longmeadow has been doing since 1966.

This year, Tree Warden Leah Grigorov went with volunteers from the committee along with some of the local gardeners with Gardeners on the Green and the Longeadow Gardeners to hand out over 200 white oak seedlings to fourth graders of the town. They also went to schools telling students why trees are important and why they celebrate Arbor Day. They Willie Ross School, read the Lorax to St. Mary’s School, Center Elementary School and Blueberry Hill Elementary School, and on Arbor Day, planted an honorary tree at Wolf Swamp Elementary School as well as hosted a bare tree identification walk at the Longmeadow Adult Center.

“This was my first year hosting Arbor Day as tree warden and it was a great success,” Grigorov said. “The tree identification walk at the Adult Center was something I started this year and I felt it was such a great way to wrap up Arbor Day week because it’s important to not only spark inspiration in our next generation, but maintain inspiration with our older generations.”

She went on to say, “I found it important to have a multi-generational layer of activities going on in town not only for our new generation, but for our older generation as well to keep that excitement about our trees and our community.”

Beyond that the committee does an educational booth and offer free tree sapling giveaways at community events. They are working on developing more programs this year. The Tree Committee has been helping Grigorov quite a bit and drafting some potential regulations in coordination with the Select Board regarding protection with trees during construction and town projects. They’re hoping to make things a little bit more uniformed in how they’re treating the trees going forward. The town will be planting 26 trees this spring in various locations around town on residential tree belts. They’re also working with Eversource who is planning on planting trees as a response to a tree hearing ruling back in 2022. Grigorov will be coordinating species with the Tree Committee.

“I’ve been living in Longmeadow for 48 years,” Chair Kathy Kucab said. “It’s been my pleasure to be a part of the Tree Committee and seeing much work being put in to replace the trees that have come down or have to come down because of their age. I just love trees and it’s such a good feeling to see that going on.”

The Longmeadow Town Tree Committee meetings take place monthly. Meeting times and locations are posted at the Town Hall and are listed on the Longmeadow town calendar. All meetings are open to the public and input is welcome.

Miasha Lee
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