Elkins trees start to bloom | News, Sports, Jobs


Elkins is fortunate to have both citizens and city council members who recognize the cooling effect of trees at a time when temperatures are rising at an alarming rate in the United States.

Members of Elkins Friends of Trees began working 15 years ago to create the Tree Board and help become a Tree City.

The Elkins Tree Board has worked since 2008 to maintain our Tree City status by securing grants, making proper tree plans, and observing Arbor Day annually. The Council also used recommendations from local naturalists who work for various state and national conservation agencies in and near Elkins. This scientific breakthrough should allow Elkins to protect green spaces and grow more trees to keep our community cool.

Judy Guye won the first downtown fruit tree grant. When she was mayor of Elkins, the Tree Board was formed and she supported all efforts to improve the appearance of the town when the sightseeing buses came in large numbers. The tree-lined Seneca Mall parking lot was planted while Judy Guye was mayor, and it was the first significant effort to reduce the heat of large rear-roofed areas in town. Judy is back on city council to help keep us cool.

City Councilors Marilynn Cuonzo and Nanci Bross-Fregonara are active members of the City Tree Board who recognize the need to reduce large black-roofed areas and provide shade in parking lots. Since becoming interested in city trees, there has been a concerted effort to use mulch and prune trees downtown. As the trees become healthier, the result is a subtle but important cooling effect in our city.

Trees are perhaps the most important part of our city’s infrastructure, and we’re fortunate to have alert elected officials who recognize all the dangers of heat in western states like Arizona. and California.

Our most forward-looking Elkins initiative is the City Tree Nursery in the former Kump Education Center community garden. WV botanist and wetland ecologist Elizabeth Byers has examined the trees at City Tree Nursery and said they are the ones she would recommend for use at Elkins. She also encouraged me to work on a tree plan for the Kump Wetland with a perimeter of sycamore trees, surrounding oak and birch trees growing in the nursery.

Katy McClane is our most valiant volunteer who takes her time tending to the trees and gardens in the town of Elkins. As recently as last week, she mobilized a troop of volunteers from out of town to move a pile of mulch next to the nursery. Katy said: “It was a fun group to work with them, and we had a serious and informative conversation about climate change by observing the trees right in front of us. “

Katy constantly weeds the gardens and takes care of the trees around Elkins. She understands what it means to be a good citizen in the 21st century when the heat rises and the water dries up.

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