There's a Chinese proverb that goes something like “One generation plants the trees, and another gets the shade.” The City of Fort Wayne's administration not only relates to this notion, we're committed to making it a fact — with a short precursor: “One generation cuts down the trees.”
Twenty states and more to come wish they'd never heard of the Asian beetle, which has destroyed millions of tall, healthy ash trees. But they are glad they can consult our city forester Chad Tinkel, who shared expert advice about the epidemic from the beginning.
As Chad will tell you, communities like Fort Wayne that were invaded after the ash borer was discovered in Detroit were lucky to have some warning of the disaster. We could be preemptive and strategic in how we handled the crisis. Chad's research, networking and detailed management plan has resulted in saving some of our best ash trees and saving money for our community.
Thanks to the support of Fort Wayne citizens, businesses, foundations and Mayor Henry, the most difficult part of this devastation is coming to a close. Almost all of the 13,000 infected ash trees on public property have been removed.
Now, we have the same opportunity to be preemptive and strategic by planting many different species of trees to protect our canopy from future vulnerability. Keeping sound fiscal policy in mind, tree replacement has been scheduled over a 10-year period.
Citizens who would like to accelerate the planting process on public property may take advantage of the Parks & Recreation Street Tree Program. In the past, this program was only offered in late summer, but we will now accept applications all year long.
Parks & Recreation will provide and plant a street tree for the discounted price of $50. Applicants who are approved will receive a shade tree with a 2-inch diameter trunk, 8-14 feet tall, depending on the variety. Residents will be provided a list of trees and may choose the variety they think will grow best, look best and coordinate best with other trees on their street, or they can ask Parks & Recreation for a recommendation.
Trees will be planted in the fall of each year. We are now accepting applications for the fall of 2014 and will accept applications for that year until Sept. 12, 2014.
For more information, or to download an application form, visit www.fortwayneparks.org.
If you would like to make a donation to cover the cost of planting street trees or park trees to improve our tree canopy, visit www.fortwayneparks.org and click the Donate tab or send a check to:
Fort Wayne Parks & Recreation Department
Re: Tree Canopy Fund
705 East State Blvd.
Fort Wayne, IN 46805
Help us protect our environment and secure shade for our children. Thank you.