(Norwalk, Conn.) Today, April 29th, city and community leaders joined Principal Jane Wilkins and students of Naramake Elementary School to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of Arbor Day. Arbor Day is led by the Arbor Day Foundation, which aims to plant trees in forests and communities around the world. Mayor Harry Rilling read the 2022 Arbor Day Proclamation and issued April 29, 2022, as Arbor Day in the City of Norwalk.
“The benefits of adding more trees to our community are endless,” said Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling. “They provide shade, decrease the amount of CO2 in the air, reduce storm water runoff which improves water quality, and so much more. In Norwalk, we’ve made tree planting, including and importance of adding trees throughout the City's Urban Forest, a huge priority. This year alone, the City has committed over $1 million towards tree planting.”
Following Mayor Rilling, a group of third-grade students from Naramake Elementary School read a poem called “Trees!, Trees!, Trees!,” and then Dr. Alexandra Estrella, Superintendent at Norwalk Public School, and Principal Jane Wilkins of Naramake Elementary School announced the poster contest winners from each grade level, K-5.
“We are fortunate to be part of a city that values trees and green spaces,” said Dr. Alexandra Estrella, Superintendent at Norwalk Public School. “Trees play such a vital role in addressing issues we face now and will continue to face in the future, from air quality to climate change and more. It’s with the future in mind that Norwalk Public Schools has added specialized options such as the Marine Science Academy at Brien McMahon High School, the program at Jefferson Marine Science Elementary School, and one under development in environmental science at Cranbury Elementary. In addition, environmental science is a key part of the curriculum at every Norwalk school, a fact that is beautifully illustrated today by the posters created by students at Naramake Elementary.”
Members of the Norwalk Tree Alliance, Norwalk Tree Advisory, and Samuel Berg, an Arborist at Eversource, led the tree planting ceremony. The ceremony included planting one Eastern Redbud tree on an island in front of the school and two Red Maple trees in the City Right-of-Way along King Street in front of the school.
Additionally, in honor of Arbor Day, the City of Norwalk’s Tree Advisory Committee and the Department of Public Works carried out its 2022 Volunteer Arbor Day Clean Up Event yesterday. This effort took place along the western side of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and included locally licensed tree professionals in advance of the installation of additional new tree plantings. It’s part of the City’s MLK Corridor Initiative to add beautification improvements and spur increased economic activity along the corridor.
Since 1976, the Tree City USA program has annually recognized cities and towns across the United States that meet program standards to encourage communities to properly manage and expand their public tree canopy. The City of Norwalk was recognized and recertified by the Arbor Day Foundation as a Tree City USA for 2021 for the 18th consecutive year and earned the Tree City USA Growth Award for 2021 for the 16th consecutive year. The City continues to focus on Urban Forest Management practices consisting of the maintenance and expansion of the urban tree canopy.
“Tree canopy is important for so many reasons including mitigating heat island effect, cleaning our air and water, and providing food/shelter for animals,” said Jeff Scherr, President of Norwalk Tree Alliance. “We at the Norwalk Tree Alliance are excited to continue planting native trees and advocating for expanding our native tree canopy for a healthier ecosystem for us all to enjoy.”