Volunteers plant first seedlings
By Michael Turton
The Village of Cold Spring now has its own tree nursery, albeit a very young one. Sunday, Sept. 22, saw a group of several volunteers plant the first 32 seedlings in a fenced off area along Kemble Avenue next to the village pumping station. The nursery project is being led by Trustee Stephanie Hawkins, but a broad cross section of the community helped make it a reality.
Last winter, Hawkins, along with residents Jennifer Zwarich, Kory Riesterer and Kathleen Foley, went to former Cold Spring Mayor Anthony Phillips, hoping he could help them find a suitable location for a nursery. Phillips contacted Ken Kearney, owner of the Marathon site, who quickly agreed to provide a small plot on his property, at no cost.
Cornell Cooperative Extension in Brewster was consulted regarding choice of tree species and best practices. Quercus velutina, or black oak, was selected and the seedlings purchased from Pinelands Nursery in New Jersey. Passersby will notice that tall plastic tubes are being used to protect each of the tiny trees from rabbits, voles and other animals. Hawkins said that the total cost of the trees and tubes was $280 – and that within about five years the trees will be worth 20 times their purchase price. “Where else can you get that kind of return on investment?” she asked.
Hawkins said that once they’ve grown, the oaks will be used to replace damaged trees throughout the village. “This is the class of 2018,” she said, referring to the year that the young trees will likely be ready for transplanting. She said that more trees, but of a different species, will be added to the nursery next spring.
Cold Spring’s Highway Department was instrumental in establishing the nursery. Foreman Ed Trimble along with Joe Russo, Charlie Norton, Bob Downey, Kenny Trimble and Jeff Phillips Jr. installed fencing and a watering system at the site. They also provided topsoil, removed weeds and mowed the enclosure. Along with volunteers, they will help maintain the nursery as well. Former Village Trustee Gordon Robertson used a small tractor and auger to dig the holes, making planting that much easier.
On Sunday morning, just after 9 o’clock, volunteers made quick work of the first planting, with Beth Henderson, Elias Henderson, Mary Saari, John Allison, Zwarich, Riesterer and Hawkins providing the necessary labor.
Hawkins said that the idea of a village tree farm, “had been floating around” for quite a while. “Many people have the same or similar ideas,” she said. “It’s when those people get together and take action together that the rubber hits the road.”
Photos by M. Turton