Event and Newsletter Archive

Norwalk Tree Alliance

New Officers and Board Members Elected at Annual Meeting

The Norwalk Tree Alliance held its Annual Meeting on October 26th at The Barn at Fodor Farm. After a brief meeting of the Board of Directors, elections were held. Officers were elected for a one-year term. Andrew Strauss was elected President. Vice President Mike Yeosock and Secretary Deborah Burnaman were re-elected, and Susan Simmons was elected as Treasurer.

To the Board of Directors, Andy Bretell, Allan Broadbent, Tim Carney and Rob Hutchinson were added for two-year terms. Rob Frazier, Dan Landau, Ray Rumer, Paul Sotnik and Rich Whitehead will continue as members of the board for another year. The total number of board members, which include officers, is 13.

A special exhibit of photos at the meeting from the 2015 CT Tree Festival served as a tribute to the memory of Hal Alvord, the Alliance’s President for the preceding year. Hal passed away on September 30th. In addressing NTA members, Strauss noted the contribution that Hal had made to the organization in building existing programs and leading new initiatives. “Hal set a high standard of leadership in just one year,” said Strauss. “I’m committed to continue his program of revitalizing our organization and expanding our outreach through education and advocacy.”

In his report to NTA members, Strauss noted the Alliance is working with the Third Taxing District for a third year in a row, with a $2,500 annual grant to plant approximately 20 trees in East Norwalk. The plantings will consist of such trees as maples and oaks along residential streets, as part of NTA’s mission to enhance Norwalk’s tree canopy. He also shared a letter from Senator Blumenthal in August, congratulating the City of Norwalk’s earning the Tree City USA recognition of the National Arbor Day Foundation, for 12 consecutive years. NTA continues as an active partner with the City in achieving this award, including The Longest Active Growth Award.

In other business, signage was revamped and new trees planted at the Rosa Parks Arboretum behind Columbus Magnet School. At the NTA Tree Farm at Fodor Farm, the tree inventory greatly was expanded with enhancements to its irrigation system. A maple tree was planted in April at the Brookside School in a continuation of the Arbor Day celebrations sponsored by the NTA throughout Norwalk’s elementary schools. Strauss noted the Alliance’s commitment to expanding its education outreach programs, which included pruning demonstrations for homeowners at the Rosa Parks Arboretum last month.

Following the Annual Meeting, wine and cheese was served to members and the many guests from The Barn’s massive service island, with Susan Simmon’s spectacular Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus) bonsai tree, in full fall color, on display as the centerpiece.

NTA Holds Tree Pruning Demonstrations at the Arboretum

The Norwalk Tree Alliance held its first Tree Pruning Demonstrations on Saturday, October 14th, at the Rosa Parks Arboretum in South Norwalk. This event was set up to allow local homeowners receive professional instruction on how to prune their own trees.

Leading Connecticut arborists demonstrated proper pruning techniques on various trees that had been planted several years ago by the City of Norwalk with support from the Alliance. Participating companies were: Almstead Tree & Shrub Care, Bert’s Tree Service, The Care of Trees and Hutchinson Tree Care Specialists.

Pruning is the most common tree maintenance procedure for Norwalk residents. Although forest trees grow quite well with only nature’s pruning, trees in our Norwalk neighborhoods require a higher level of care to maintain their safety, value and aesthetics.

Members of Norwalk’s tree advocacy community, including the Norwalk Tree Alliance and the City’s Tree Advisory Committee, have been concerned that many trees in Norwalk neighborhoods are improperly pruned by homeowners and non-professional landscapers. We’ve all seen trees that have been grossly topped-off, making them short-lived lollipops in the landscape, subject to disease and slow death. The Pruning Demonstration event was in response to this concern.

Arborists taught homeowners key basics of tree biology. They demonstrated pruning techniques to guide tree growth and to ensure tree health, good branching structure and aesthetics. Hands-on instruction demonstrated both proper and improper techniques, remedial pruning to address growth problems, as well as appropriate pruning tools and their proper use.

The Alliance anticipates the opportunity for future tree planting, maintenance and pruning workshops, as part of its continuing mission for building awareness of the value and proper care of trees in our Norwalk community.

Gary Norman, of Amsted Tree & Shrub Care demonstrates proper pruning techniques on a beech (Fagus) tree.

Rich Whitehead, of The Care of Trees teaches the basics of good branching structure for a Japanese maple (Acer palmatum).

Andrew Strauss and Ray Rumer for NTA at City’s Open House.

NTA Builds Awareness at the City’s Open House

On Saturday, October 7th, the City of Norwalk hosted its annual Open House at the Public Works Center on South Smith Street. Police, Fire, Emergency Services and Public Works all participated. The event, open to all, was held so that citizens could learn about safety and city services, meet first responders and have some hands-on fun. About 1400 people attended, mostly families with small children.

The Norwalk Tree Alliance participated as partner to the City’s tree program. At our booth in the Public Works area, we shared information about our work, our free tree programs and about the Pruning Demonstrations at the Arboretum for the following Saturday, October 14th. The spirit was festive, interactive and fun. Over a dozen Norwalk homeowners, interested in our tree programs, signed up for NTA family memberships and for free trees in the spring of 2018, which was the best response in years!

Hope Burnaman and her mom, Deborah Burnaman, hand out literature and sell copies of books such as “The Hidden Life of Trees” during the Norwalk Tree Alliance Open House at Fodor Farm on Thursday, June 23, 2017 in Norwalk, Connecticut.

Be a Part of History

The Norwalk Tree Alliance has constructed a Tree Farm at Fodor Farm, 330 Flax Hill Road in Norwalk.  The Tree Alliance will be planting 225 bare root seedlings at the Tree Farm on Saturday May 20, 2017 from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.  These seedlings will be cultivated, nurtured and transplanted to other areas of Norwalk.  As trees are transplanted from the Tree Farm, new seedlings will be planted so that the Tree Farm serves the community for decades to come.  You can help.  Join us on May 20 and plant as few, or as many, trees as you like.  In an hour or two of your time you will learn how to properly plant a tree and help improve the quality of life in Nowalk into the foreseeable future.

Trees Add Value to Your Property

On Monday April 3, 2017 at 7:30 PM, Gay MacLeod, Vice Chair of Norwalk’s Tree Advisory Committee, will give a presentation on this topic to a meeting of the West Norwalk Association.  The meeting will be held at Fox Run Elementary School.  Her presentation will feature the numerous ways trees add value to residential properties, as well as highlighting many other ways trees provide advantages to our quality of life.  Gay’s presentation is open to the public.

The Tree Farm at Fodor Farm

The Norwalk Tree Alliance has developed a tree farm with funding from an “America the Beautiful” grant, awarded to us by CT DEEP. This grant has helped us launch the tree farm at Fodor Farm Park. The tree farm, about 1/3 acre in size, was dedicated on September 27, 2013, and is currently functioning.

In spring 2013 the farm received its first potted saplings, consisting of White Spruce, Black Walnut and Toringo Crabapple. Other species are also currently being grown. After a few years of growing at Fodor Tree Farm, the trees will be replanted to enhance Norwalk’s streets, city parks and schools.

We are grateful to the departments of Parks and Recreation and Public Works, and the City of Norwalk for their support of this project.

Black Cherry Tree identification label at Cranbury Park
2016 annual Arbor Day celebration April 29, 2016 at Marvin School
2016 annual Arbor Day celebration April 29, 2016 at Marvin School
2016 annual Arbor Day celebration April 29, 2016 at Marvin School

Annual Arbor Day Celebrations in Norwalk

Each year the Norwalk Tree Alliance, in conjunction with the Norwalk Board of Education, selects a school to receive a tree in honor of Arbor Day.

The 2016 annual Arbor Day celebration took place on April 29, 2016 at Marvin School. As in past years, the students did participate in the planting of a tree on the school grounds. Mayor Rilling along with other dignitaries and the students used ceremonial shovels to plant the Kousa Dogwood tree.

The poster contest in honor of Arbor Day again produced some very creative scenes from the Marvin School students.

Arbor Day 2015 was celebrated at Kendall School on April 24. Once again, the poster contest in honor of Arbor Day produced some very creative scenes from the Kendall School students.

The 2014 Arbor Day tree planting was done on April 25 at Wolfpit School. This was the eleventh year that a tree was planted at a school in celebration of Arbor Day.

The 2013 Arbor Day tree planting was celebrated on April 26 at the Jefferson Magnet School. On this beautiful sunny spring day, a maple tree was planted on the school grounds. The poster contest in honor of Arbor Day produced some very creative scenes from the students.

In 2012, Arbor Day was celebrated on April 27 at Naramake School, where 6 apple trees were planted.  Again, on a beautiful spring day, the ceremony was attended by students, residents and many local and state dignitaries.

In 2011, Arbor Day was celebrated on April 29 at Fox Run School. A spruce tree was planted at the school to honor the day, with many city and state dignitaries in attendance. Fox Run students performed ceremonies in honor of the occasion. It is expected that the tree will flourish and beautify the school landscape for many years to come.

Previous years have seen trees planted at the schools listed below.

  • 2004: Marvin School
  • 2005: Tracey School
  • 2006: Brookside School
  • 2007: Columbus School
  • 2008: Rowayton School
  • 2009: Cranbury School
  • 2010: Silvermine School

Norwalk’s Notable Trees

A sycamore on Soundview Avenue known as the Lighthouse Tree—once a beacon for sailors and the legendary site of a cache of arms for soldiers during the Revolutionary War is among the Notable Trees being catalogued by a team from the Norwalk Tree Alliance. Dan Landau and Jeanne McAndrew have identified at least a dozen remarkable trees and they intend to document the extraordinary specimens as they screen Norwalk’s urban forest. Both have been volunteers with the NTA for many years and describe the appeal of the association in virtually the same terms–an affinity for the outdoors, the wonders of nature and an opportunity for give-something-back community service.

Lightning has sheared off the top of the Lighthouse Tree and today it stands diminished at 77 feet high. But it was reportedly once a towering point visible from Long Island Sound and it served as a structural landmark for shipping. At night, a flagman reportedly climbed the tree and guided ships into Norwalk Harbor with a lantern.

Folklore has it that during the Revolutionary War soldiers hid their guns by burying weapons at the base of the tree and covering the cache with a large rock that is still there today, now virtually engulfed by the growth of the trunk.

Like the historic tree at curbside on Sound Avenue, there are an estimated 20,000 trees on civic property in Norwalk and manifoldly more, perhaps as many as 100,000, on private property.

The Norwalk Tree Alliance is scouring the city for exceptional trees, outfitted with a tape measure and an apparatus known as an inclinometer; based on tilt sensor technology it measures tree height using geometry.

Norwalk Tree Alliance

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