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April 19, 2018
Contact: Judy Pangman, (607) 432-0114
Mispa Haque, (607) 432-0114


Press Release: City of Oneonta Arbor Day event features tree planting, walk, demonstration


(ONEONTA) – The City of Oneonta’s annual Arbor Day tree planting ceremony will feature some new events and activities, organizers said.


In addition to the traditional tree planting, the event will include a demonstration of how to protect ash trees from the emerald ash borer, and a walk highlighting the importance of urban forests. Arbor Day is a holiday in which individuals and groups are encouraged to plant trees. In New York, Arbor Day is celebrated on the last Friday in April.


“Our trees are highly valued by the people of Oneonta,” said Gary Herzig, Mayor of the City of Oneonta. “We owe many thanks to the staff, professionals, and volunteers who plan, plant, and care for our urban trees.”


The event kicks off at 10am at the Swart-Wilcox Historical Park on Wilcox Avenue. City officials will plant a tree, part of a tradition to honor that the City has been a Tree City USA since 1986.


At 11am, Craig Vollmer, Arborist from Forecon, Inc., will demonstrate how to inoculate ash trees with insecticides to protect them from the emerald ash borer, an invasive, wood-boring beetle native to eastern Russia and Asia. Discovered in the United States for the first time in 2002, the emerald ash borer has now spread to 15 states, including New York, and has killed millions of trees. Once infested, previously healthy ash trees can be killed in three to five years. Falling branches from weakened trees can cause injury and property damage. Inoculation with certain insecticides has been demonstrated to be a safe, effective method for preventing emerald ash borer infestation.


“Ash trees are a significant part of our forest ecosystems, and have long been a popular ornamental for homes, streets and parks,” said James Hawver, Senior Engineering Technician for the City of Oneonta. “Our street and park tree survey of 2014 shows there were 420 ash tree sites within the City of Oneonta, which have since been reduced in our efforts to protect against the threat of the emerald ash borer.”


Following the demonstration, Jeff O’Handley, program director for Otsego County Conservation Association will lead a walk to explore the urban forest around the Swart-Wilcox Historic Park. The walk will highlight the importance of urban forests, the threat of invasive species like the emerald ash borer, and what can be done to protect against them.


“Emerald ash borer is knocking at Oneonta’s door,” O’Handley said. “This is a good time for people to become familiar with it and take steps to minimize its impacts in the community.”


NYSEG is supporting the event by generously providing a limited number of seedlings. Species are white oak, a tree, and rose of Sharon, a flowering shrub, which will be made available to attendees of the demonstration and walk.


All events are free and open to the public. For more information, please contact Judy Pangman or Mispa Haque of the City of Oneonta’s Community Development Department at 607 432-0114.


The Arbor Day events are made possible by an Urban Community Forestry grant received by the City of Oneonta. The Urban Community Forestry grants are funded through the State Environmental Protection Fund. They are part of New York’s ongoing environmental initiatives to promote clean air, clean water, energy savings and habitat creation and to address invasive species, environmental justice and urban sprawl. UCF grants are awarded by the Department of Environmental Conservation.