By Shelburne Tree Advisory Committee
Shelburne has a rich cultural landscape heritage that includes buildings, outdoor spaces, and trees in its village and community. Like many communities throughout Vermont and the country, Shelburne once had beautiful stately American elm trees along roadways and in its public spaces. While they succumbed to Dutch elm disease, more trees were planted to replace them. But trees we have along our roads do need attention and care to survive.
That’s where the Shelburne Tree Advisory Committee comes in. Established in 2013, our mission is to help assure that the town plans for, plants, and maintains trees in the town’s public spaces and road rights-of-way.
Our responsibilities include developing a comprehensive plan for planting and maintaining diversity of species and ages of trees in public spaces; providing a plan to maintain trees in public spaces in a healthy and safe condition; developing tree planting specifications and details; developing a tree fund from private and public sources; seeking opportunities to apply for grants for the purposes of developing a master tree planting plan and to provide funds for planting trees; and developing a plan to provide an educational program to the residents of Shelburne regarding the benefits of trees in particular and their care in general.
Since 2013, we have made headway on several of these responsibilities. We now have a Shade Tree Fund that was established with a generous donation from Wake Robin residents. It has been used in conjunction with grant funds to plant new trees on the Village Green, Parade Ground, and Town Beach.
A tree inventory was done of a portion of Shelburne Village in 2014, which we will be updating and hopefully expanding in 2017. A Cultural Landscape Walking Tour brochure of Shelburne Village was prepared by a UVM graduate student with our committee in 2014. This brochure was printed in 2016 and it will be available in locations throughout the village in the spring of 2017.
We also started a memorial tree program and in 2016, planted memorial trees with beautiful granite markers made by Densmore Monuments at Davis Park and the Town Beach. This is a great way to thank or remember someone with a living asset. And on Feb. 28, the Shelburne Selectboard formally accepted the Public Tree and Street Tree Management Plan, created by the STAC in partnership with the Vermont Urban & Community Forestry Program and the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission.
There are numerous other activities and items we are working on, but most importantly, we will be doing a regular monthly column in the Shelburne News to share information about trees. We are open to suggestions for article suggestions, and feel free to send us photos of Shelburne trees that you particularly like, too. We would also like to hear from readers with ideas or questions that we could use in future articles. You can contact us by going to the Town’s website at http://shelburnevt.org/235/Tree-Advisory-Committee.