by Andrew Strauss
Harold F. Alvord, President of the Norwalk Tree Alliance, passed away on September 30th, after a long illness. He was 73.
While Hal was the President of NTA this past year, he had been a leading force for tree advocacy in Norwalk for over 12 years. As the City’s Director of Public Works and Tree Warden, Hal steadfastly promoted urban reforestation and earned recognition for Norwalk as a “Tree City, USA,” a designation from the National Arbor Day Foundation.
Hal was a prominent public voice for the value of trees in community life, at such forums as the Connecticut Tree Festival, which ran for 10 years. Indeed, at his last day as Director of Public Works, he presided as Norwalk’s Tree Warden at the 2015 CT Tree Festival. Hal helped organize the City’s annual Arbor Day observance at elementary schools throughout the city. As recently as this spring’s Arbor Day tree-planting ceremony at Brookside School, Hal engaged the students in an inspiring, interactive talk about the value of trees in their young lives.
Many in Norwalk will remember his dedicated service as Director of Public Works and the effectiveness of his leadership. Those who knew Hal will remember a man of integrity, intellect and grit. To those in the Norwalk Tree Alliance who worked gladly under his leadership and knew him well, Hal was a kind, understanding and caring man, with a keen sense of humor. He could guffaw unexpectedly at a moment’s notice!
Mourners, paying their respects at the funeral home in Danbury on October 4th, were touched by the keepsake provided. It consisted of a simple card with an elegant drawing of an oak tree and this inscription:
The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson
A craft-paper envelope accompanied the card, with a single acorn from a red oak inside. A fitting memorial token of dear Hal – of who he was and what he represented.
The Norwalk Tree Alliance has received generous donations in memory of Hal. From a special Harold F. Alvord Memorial Fund, a memorial will be established by the Norwalk Tree Alliance and the Tree Advisory Committee, City of Norwalk, in consort with the wishes of Hal’s family.