A small army of volunteers planned to hit the streets Saturday to plant about 400 trees throughout Buffalo.
A day earlier, Mayor Byron Brown joined others to plant a Spring Snow Crabapple Tree on the grounds of a church behind City Hall. It was a reminder that Earth Day and Arbor Day fast approaching. Brown couldn’t resist quipping that the tree’s name is fitting given the volume of snow the region witnessed late in the season.
The planting outside St. Anthony of Padua Church is part of a 27-year long tradition where the mayor plants a tree to keep Buffalo’s designation as a Tree City USA. Since it started in the late 1980s, trees have been planted in various green spaces around City Hall and in Lafayette Square.
There are numerous requirements of being designated a Tree City USA. Ciites must observe Arbor Day, have a board designated for taking care of the trees, have a tree care ordinance and earmarked at least $2 per capita in their budgets for trees. There are currently around 3,400 Tree City USA’s across the country.
Andy Rabb, Buffalo’s deputy commissioner of parks and recreation, says crews are still replacing trees that were lost to the October Surprise Storm of 2006.
“We still lose several trees a year from injuries incurred that have just manifested themselves and took over the tree now,” Rabb said. “But through programs like Re-Tree, which is a wonderful volunteer effort, we have made serious gains from the trees that were lost during the storm to kind of get back to where we are now.”
The City has been working with Re-Tree and various block clubs across the city to plant over 28,000 trees across Buffalo since 2006.