Spring 2009 Acorn Newsletter
Gabe Purvis, Chair of the Assessment Subcommittee and current leader of the watering crew called yesterday to say that the watering bag for one of the 10 Memorial Trees we planted this winter had sprung a large leak and needed to be replaced. We’ve had excellent planting success by watering all first-year trees (usually the 15 gallon size, 5-8 feet tall) every 7-10 days if there has not been at least 1 inch of rain. Gabe, Ed Farnworth (Chairman), and Billy McClellan were out watering when the leak was discovered. Our “Water Wagon” is shown in the attached picture. (Warning: Trailers with such a high center of gravity are subject to tipping over. Believe it, we know!). Next week, Gabe, Ed, and David will be meeting Frances Waite, Coastal Urban Forester, to survey a dozen mature red cedar trees that have suddenly died in and around McClellanville.
Our Memorial Tree Program, in place since shortly after the Committee was first formed in the late 1990’s, has been an outstanding success. Townspeople donate $100 for a tree to be planted in a public space in honor of or as a memorial for a loved one. Eighty trees have been planted without a single fatality to either the trees or any Committee members. Trees are selected and plantings are done following SCUCFC guidelines. Because of the time and money spent on tree planting and maintenance, as well as a modest monetary contribution from the town for tree maintenance, McClellanville has just been awarded its eighth consecutive Tree City USA by the National Arbor Day Foundation.
One of the highlights of 2008 was our celebration of the Deerhead Oak as SCUCFC’s 2007 Heritage Tree. The Committee raised over $2,000 in donations to fund the event and we had a good turn out of townspeople and guests. Everyone on the Committee worked hard to make it happen, especially Virginia Prevost (Secretary) and Marylou High, who made all the arrangements for guest comforts and refreshments.
At our Committee meeting night before last (we meet every two or three months), Walt Bonner (Past Chair, Chairman of the Publicity Subcommittee) and Marylou High described their efforts toward getting a Tree Committee page on the Town Website. David Stoney (Past Chair and Treasurer) outlined the status of our budget, including the disposition of grant funds, cash and in-kind matching funds. We’ve been very pleased to have received two grants from the SC Urban Forestry Grant Program. They have helped fund educational workshops for Committee members, a tree pruning demonstration, an update of our tree inventory, and a tour of (unusual) trees in McClellanville. We’ve relied heavily on volunteer work to generate our in-kind match for the grants and last year posted over 436 hours of volunteer time devoted to maintaining and improving our public trees.
We’ve been blessed with active, dedicated volunteers, all willing to work. Last fall we scrounged two truck loads of wood chips during some power line pruning. Next week the whole Committee (Ed Farnworth, Gabe Purvis, Virginia Prevost, Marylou High, Walt Bonner, Alston Leland, Billy McClellan, Eddie Stroman, Tom Kephart, and David Stoney) will form two teams with trailers to use those chips to mulch our memorial trees and any other public trees that appear to be struggling.
We may not ever be quite so busy again; that will depend on when we get grant funds for public education demonstrations! We’re proud to have helped McClellanville maintain its strikingly beautiful trees, all the while helping to fight global warming. We hope that every small town in South Carolina will consider forming a tree committee and get to work planting and helping their trees.