A month ago citizens might have noticed several groups of young women and men clad in bright orange vests sizing up and measuring our town’s trees. Their activities were the direct result of a partnership between three organizations that began with the formation of a town tree committee.
In May 2013, Wake Robin made a donation to the town that became the catalyst for the formation of the Shelburne Tree Advisory Committee. The committee has worked to establish a shade tree fund to help insure that the town has the capabilities to properly plant and maintain trees in the town’s public spaces. To aid in the implementation of these policies, the University of Vermont (UVM) Land Stewardship Program (LANDS), the Vermont Urban and Community Forest Program (VT UCF), and the Shelburne Tree Advisory Committee collaborated to conduct a comprehensive tree inventory.
LANDS was initiated by the UVM Rubenstein School and the Student Conservation Association to offer hands on action oriented work for college students and recent graduates who are studying in various environmental fields. In the capacity of service learning students actively engage in trail work, manual labor, and more advanced projects such as the tree project.
VT UCF is assisting 20 communities throughout the state in completing a public tree inventory, developing a management plan, and increasing local technical tree care knowledge through a grant from the USDA Forest Service.
Fortunately for our town, VT UCF identified Shelburne as a community who would benefit from a tree inventory and approached the Tree Advisory Committee. Eager to participate, Shelburne kicked off their 2014 summer/fall inventory season which brought nine LANDS students to our town.
On two beautiful June days students split up and compiled data in the historic village and on many residential roads. This hard working crew hailed from Vermont, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Peru with majors in a wide range of environmental fields including fish and wildlife, environmental science, and political science. They inventoried over 725 trees and identified over 60 potential tree planting locations on public land using a map-based inventory system developed through a partnership between VT UCF and the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources IT Team.
UVM Extension Community Outreach Specialist, Elise Schadler shared that “projects like this truly embody our program’s mission by supporting a community’s efforts to move their public tree stewardship forward, by drawing attention to the importance of trees in public spaces, and by exposing future environmental leaders to the field of urban forestry.”
This project clearly reflects team work and a commitment to partnership as a means of accomplishing a goal. Our town’s tree committee has ambitious responsibilities outlined for the coming year. They include the development of a comprehensive plan for planting and maintaining a diversity of species and ages of trees in public spaces and seeking grants to aid in the development of that master plan and funding for planting trees.
The Selectboard has approved the establishment of the Shade Tree Fund. Requests for memorial tree plantings should be submitted in writing to the Shelburne Tree Warden using the application form available at our Town Offices. At the Selectboard meeting on Tuesday, July 22, town members are welcome to hear the report from the LANDS students who generously have given their time and energy to inventory our trees. Kudos to all the members of our Shelburne Tree Advisory Committee and their efforts to insure tree sustainability.
For more information, call the Town Office at 985-5111 or visit www.uvm.edu/lands or www.vtfpr.org/urban/for_urbcomm.cfm.