The weather Saturday may have been a tad uncomfortable, but waterlogged soil and chilly temperatures provided ideal conditions for the task at hand.
In Buffalo and nine suburbs, 600 trees were planted through Re-Tree WNY.
“As much as people complain about the rain ... this really is a good thing,” explained Paul D. Maurer, Re-Tree’s chairman, as he stood amid the site of a “special signature planting” in the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus neighborhood.
“The rain has worked the soil nicely. We had no trouble digging in,” Maurer said.
Further, trees need to be planted in cold weather, when they’re dormant.
It wasn’t even close to lunchtime Saturday when approximately 80 to 90 volunteers finished planting 68 trees around the medical campus. Elms, oaks, lindens, lilacs and crabapples were among the 20 species planted along Washington Street and adjacent thoroughfares.
Though plantings also were taking place in nine suburbs – including the Tonawandas and Towns of Amherst and Cheektowaga – the Medical Campus event had a special billing.
Re-Tree typically works with smaller community groups, like block clubs and church groups, coordinated through a municipality. A signature planting is more like a general call.
“We bring people from all over to do it to have a big impact,” Maurer said. “Today, we got done in record time.”
The signature site planting was in response to a request from Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus Inc., the non-profit umbrella organization representing the institutions located within.
“We’re really growing here and want to do it in an environmentally friendly way. One of the easiest ways to do that is trees,” said Jamie Hamann-Burney, a planner for the medical campus who was among those planting Saturday.
The goal is to improve the landscape of the campus and make it more inviting, he said.
“We’re hoping to do it again in the fall," said Hamann-Burney, who called Saturday’s efforts the first phase of “Re-Tree BNMC.”
The City of Buffalo’s Department of Public Works, Parks & Streets helped with logistics, Maurer said.
The city has a geographic information system [GIS] survey indicating what planting locations are available, among other things.
“It was pretty barren, actually, and needed it,” Maurer said of the medical campus neighborhood.
Information about what was planted by Re-Tree volunteers, and where, will be reported back to the city.
Saturday marked the 13th planting by Re-Tree WNY, which was formed in the wake of the October 2006 snowstorm that damaged or destroyed as many as 60,000 trees in the city and nearby suburbs. Since Arbor Day in 2007, Re-Tree has planted almost 25,000 trees out of its goal of 30,000.
Another “signature” planting is scheduled for next Saturday in Buffalo’s Old First Ward. Visit www.re-treewny.org for more information.