City of Urbana's Urban Forest Reinvigorated by Cooperative Program
Over $10,000 provided to plant 85 trees for spring 2018
Designated as Tree City USA, Urbana’s quest to reinvigorate its “urban forest” is firmly rooted in an effort entitled the “Urbana Cooperative Tree Planting Program,” according to Mike Brunk, the City of Urbana’s arborist. “Urbana has recently gained partners in community greening and tree restoration efforts. Urbana Rotary and residents Dr. Holly Rosencranz, and Warren Lavey have joined efforts to provide the City of Urbana with over $10,000 for 85 new trees to line the lovely streets of Urbana. This will be undertaken through the Urbana Cooperative Tree Planting Program and will be part of 209 new trees targeted for spring 2018 planting,” Brunk said.
Brunk states that Urbana has lost 500 trees over the last three years due to the onslaught of the Emerald Ash Borer. This loss, coupled with a rise in tree disease and decline has created a substantial backlog of empty tree sites. "The City will need to emphasize tree planting efforts as much as possible for the next decade to reinvigorate the urban forest to previous conditions," Brunk said.
Mayor Diane Marlin thanks the champion partnership of the Rotary Club of Urbana, Rosecranz and Lavey. "It inspires community spirit for a great cause, trees! After so many removals (of trees), this is an excellent start to begin to remedy the loss of our canopy," Mayor Marlin said.
Rotary International President-elect Ian HS Riseley strongly encouraged local Rotary chapters to help protect the environment and curb climate change by planting a tree for each of its members between the start of the Rotary year on July 1, 2017 through Earth Day, April 22, 2018. “The time is long past when environmental sustainability can be dismissed as not Rotary’s concern. It is, and must be, everyone’s concern,” he said.
Pastor Bob Rasmus, the Urbana Rotary President said the best outcomes result when community leaders share goals, resources and ideas. "Urbana Rotary is grateful for the partnership and generosity of Dr. Holly Rosencranz and Warren Lavey, plus the skill and commitment to the community of Urbana City Arborist Mike Brunk. With the matching gift from Dr. Rosencranz and Mr. Lavey, we were able to raise over $10,000 for tree replacement in our lovely community," he said.
Brunk said it was inspiring that both private citizens and the Rotary were able to give matching funds in order to enhance restoration efforts. “There will be a public tree planting ceremony in the parkway of 105 Meadows St., Urbana from 2 to 3 p.m. on April 27. Everyone is invited and encouraged to attend,” Brunk said.
The City of Urbana is one of 13 charter Tree City USA communities in the United States.