Thursday, May 1, 2008

A tree grows in Bayview Park

Planting of new tree brings out city residents

By Amanda Howe
Special to the Register
— There is a new elm in the Elm City.
City residents of many ages came out Wednesday to watch the planting of an American Liberty Elm at Bayview Park on Hallock Avenue.
Doreen Larson-Oboyski, project coordinator of the Department of Parks, Recreation and Trees, said the tree was chosen to replace a cottonwood tree that had previously been in that part of the park.
Kris Sainsbury, a member of the Green Space Program, which gets neighborhoods involved with the environment, said the cottonwood had been there for more than 100 years.
“The cottonwood came down last summer. It was very sad, but it was a very sick tree,” Sainsbury said.
Larson-Oboyski said the Elm Research Institute in Keene, N.H., asked city staff to plant the American Liberty Elm, which is a disease-resistant tree.
Larson-Oboyski said Wednesday’s event was intended to honor and reintroduce a celebration of Arbor Day in New Haven, to bring a hardy type of elm to the Elm City and to help New Haven become a “Tree City” in the eyes of the Arbor Day Foundation.
Students from both the Sound School and Micro Society Magnet School attended the planting.
MicroSociety teacher Howard Nero brought his students, including Michael Brehon, 12, who said he was excited to see a new tree planted across the street from his school because trees produce oxygen.
Sound School teacher Chas Mavrelion said he and several of his students attended because they work closely with the parks department. “Being from an agriculture school, we really appreciate Arbor Day,” Mavrelion said.
Several city youths got involved in the event, including Alex Rivera, 7, who helped Sainsbury throw dirt around the new tree, and Karrissa Gutison, 15, from Wilbur Cross High School, who read the poem “Liberty Tree” by Thomas Paine.
Bob Larkin, whose Ninth Regiment Connecticut Volunteer Infantry came out with its replica flag, said he was invited because in one half of Bayview Park, on the other side of Interstate 95, there is a Civil War memorial statue erected in 1903 for the regiment that camped on that land before marching out.
“I brought the flag because it’s meant to symbolize the park and the monument and what the tree stands for,” Larkin said.
City Plan Director Karyn Gilvarg, who spoke on behalf of Mayor John DeStefano Jr., who could not attend, said it’s nice to pay attention to this half of the park, which was orphaned when the highway built.
Fernando Lage, urban forester for the Park Department, said the tree could grow up to 90 feet and live for “well over 100 years.
Amanda Howe is a Register intern.

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