Monday, December 1, 2008

We got a tree!

We just got a tree planted on the sidewalk in front of our house - and the difference is spectacular. Two weeks ago the girls and I watched a crew cut out the concrete and dig a hole, they were an adoring crowd.

Our neighbor was also slated to get a tree, but while the holes were dug two weeks ago, and said neighbors' tree was planted the following day, ours was only planted today. Well worth the wait. New trees popped up all over our neighborhood thanks to a grant applied for by our neighborhood association, OAPA.

That said, just this week Lehigh county commissioners rejected a grant that the city of Allentown had received as part of the TreeVitalize program. The sentiment amongst the commissioners appears to be that tree plantings are frivolous, and the money ($25K) should be spent for "1/2 a police officers salary" or something more important to the well being of the city (I should say county, as I have long felt the commissioners could give a rats ass about A-town). Before the commissioners send this 'message' to Harrisburg, I suggest they do a little research on urban forests.

A few benefits of urban forests:
*help ameliorate carbon emissions and greenhouse gases
*reduction of UV radiation
*temperature moderation
*increased air quality (this is a public health issue!)
*reduced storm water runoff
*decrease energy needs of neighboring buildings

When those batteries are up and running, I'll post pics of the tree planting in addition to neighborhood photos - the differences between blocks with trees and without are astounding.

Oh, and just to get a mothering slant on this, when I asked my four year old what she thought about the tree she said "I feel proud. Isn't it beautiful?"
Yes. It is.


Daniela said...

I'm so glad you got a tree!

I hate when commissioners (or the like) make statements like that about things they consider 'frivolous' - here various politicians got the knickers in knots over a (Minneapolis) public arts program. I feel like when they say things like, "that could pay for more police!" they are pandering and/or fear-mongering. There are quality of life issues in addition to police-related stuff, you know? And actually, I'm not of the opinion that having more cops automatically means less crime anyway....but that's the radical lefty in me!

Trees in neighborhoods are a wonderful thing. It's one of the nice things about living in an old neighborhood that I love- having mature trees around. And conversely, it's something I hate about new suburban developments, I can never figure out why anyone would want to live without any trees around (and I hate thinking that a bunch of trees were probably cut down to make 'room' for the houses, I guess this was true at some point for my own house just a long time ago and really do we need to cut down MORE trees? /rant).

Unfortunately, Dutch Elm Disease has gotten to a lot of neighborhoods around here. Very sad. But the city does seem to replace the trees, eventually. aAnd I get a wee bit jealous of the street one block up from us where the city, way back when, planted all sugar maples of some variety which makes the street downright glorious in the autumn!!!

I'm going to try posting a link to a photo of that street...
I took this on the first walk Thalia took around the block with us, one week old. She couldn't see the trees cos, well, she was a newborn but also she was snuggled away in a m0by wrap!

KJ said...

I thought I posted about this earlier - but it was late at night and I was giddy (and we had been at the Brew works). The commissioners had a re-vote on the 10th, and I think a great campaign of emails, phone calls, and speakers at the meeting convinced the commissioners to ACCEPT the grant. The final vote was 7-2 in favor! Two of the commissioners responded to my email, but I still suspect one of them may be a d-bag.

It is interesting with modern city-scaping (at least here) they are doing a great job of maintaining diversity. So our neighbors new tree is a flowering cherry, and ours is a maple, so hopefully future diseases and pests won't wipe huge swaths of trees.

Fear mongering. Ugh. We have so much to talk about on this blog.

Daniela said...

You've got me wondering now about St Paul's policies for planting/replacing trees with regards to diversity. Seems like a very smart idea to plant a number of different trees- to avoid/ameliorate disease issues. god knows, we should learn from the past! Also, planting native trees would be better. Instead of importing pretty trees from overseas along with all their pests who then just go to town on our natives. Ecological nightmare that we don't ever seem to learn from!