By: Estelle Williams -
“If you would know strength and patience, welcome the company of trees”
--- Hal Borland
Have you ever wondered why someone from the Village is digging a hole in the Village owned right-of-way? Are you surprised to see a sapling there the next morning when you look out your window as you finish your coffee?
Well, that lovely gift comes from the collaboration between the Village of Mamaroneck and the all-volunteer Tree Committee appointed by the Board of Trustees. And that joint effort earned Mamaroneck the national designation of “Tree City”.
Established in 1988 by environmentally concerned residents, the Tree Committee aims to identify streets and parks where planting a tree would add an aesthetic and environmental benefit to the community.
Trees add tremendous ecological benefits. They help reduce ambient temperature, provide shade and food and shelter for wildlife, remove airborne pollutants, absorb excess water, control erosion, and store carbon in their trunks and the soil.
In 2017, satellite images revealed that the tree canopy in the Village of 25% coverage was well below the desirable and more beneficial standard of 40% coverage. Using funds from the Village budget and grant awards, the Tree Committee set about fulfilling its mission of increasing the number of trees in the Village. Since 2011, their goal was to plant between 100-200 trees annually, but did not meet that goal every year. Planting was suspended during Covid but through Spring 2023, the Tree Committee has plans to find suitable locations for approximately 250 shade or ornamental trees, mostly native maples, white oaks and tulip trees.
In 2021 the Board of Trustees passed a Tree Law which requires homeowners and builders who plan to remove a diseased tree or one which may be dangerously located or within 10 feet of a structure, to apply for a permit to remove it. The owner must plant a new tree that would eventually mature to the same size as the one removed. The law also calls for a monetary penalty for a tree removed on private property which has not been permitted. Fines range from $1,050 to $7,500 depending on size and number of trees removed.
In addition to siting and planting, the Tree Committee also sponsors community education as part of its mission. They organize guided tree walks in the Village, the most recent one led by an educator from Sheldrake Environmental Center, hold pruning workshops for residents who have smaller trees, and have sponsored talks presented by a NY State DEC state forester. They have also conducted book talks at Mamaroneck Library.
For more information about the valuable service provided to the community by their outstanding commitment and work, visit the Tree Committee HERE.