On April 30, 2021, the City of Norwalk, Norwalk Public Schools, Norwalk Tree Advisory Committee, Norwalk Tree Alliance, Oak Hills Park Authority, and Eversource celebrated Arbor Day 2021 with a special tree planting ceremony at Oak Hills Park. A total of 10 trees were planted in Norwalk in recognition of Arbor Day 2021, with eight planted at Oak Hills Park, one at Brookside Elementary School, and one at Kendall Elementary School.
“Arbor Day is always a great community event, and I appreciate the efforts of staff to ensure we can celebrate safely this year. Any day we can plant trees is a great day. Thank you to Norwalk Public Schools and Eversource for partnering with us for Arbor Day 2021,” Mayor Harry W. Rilling said. “Trees are a vital resource and asset to our community. We’ve maintained our Tree City USA recognition from the National Arbor Day Foundation since 2004 and remain fully committed to expanding our tree planting program and enhancing the tree canopy around Norwalk.”
Historically, Arbor Day events have been held with a large ceremony at one of the public schools. However, this year, in adhering to COVID-19 protocols, the City and Norwalk Public Schools worked together to creatively celebrate Arbor Day safely. On April 22, a Stellar Pink Flowering Dogwood tree was planted at Brookside Elementary School and a Sugar Maple tree was planted at Kendall Elementary School by the Department of Public Works. Although there was no formal tree planting ceremony, fifth grade students took pictures around the trees and had lessons planned related to Arbor Day. Seedlings and gift bags provided by Eversource were also distributed to the fifth grade students today.
“Despite the pandemic, we are so pleased that our 5th graders had the opportunity to celebrate this Arbor Day and showcase their commitment as stewards of the environment,” said NPS Superintendent Dr. Alexandra Estrella. “These types of hands-on learning experiences enable students to deepen their understanding of climate change, human impact on the environment and the role they can play as active members of the community. As our students develop a deep respect and appreciation for our planet now, we are confident that our future will be much brighter.”
At Oak Hills Park, Mayor Rilling, Dr. Estrella, City and Schools staff and special guests, including the Norwalk Tree Advisory Committee, Norwalk Tree Alliance, Oak Hills Park Authority, and Eversource, planted eight new trees. The trees planted included three Fastigiate European Hornbeams (columnar trees) near the white house at the Oak Hills Park entrance sign, which are examples of Arbor Day Foundation guidelines of planting the Right Tree in the Right Place. Additionally, one Redmond American Linden and one Liberty Elm were planted near the Great Lawn area behind the Club House Building, and two Swamp White Oaks and one Red Maple tree were planted in the Park along Fillow Street. Eversource paid for five trees while the City paid for three. Eversource also presented a $1,500 Community Impact Grant for trees from the Eversource Foundation to Mayor Rilling and the Norwalk Tree Alliance.
“I can’t think of a better way to celebrate Arbor Day than by planting a tree for the community to enjoy – especially when it’s the right tree in the right place,” said Eversource Vegetation Management Manager Alan Carey. “As environmental stewards, we plant thousands of trees across our service territory each year and donate thousands more saplings to be planted in neighborhoods and public spaces. In 2020, we planted more than 6,500 trees along power lines to replace trees that needed to be removed to deliver safe and reliable power for our customers.”
Today’s special Arbor Day Ceremony was livestreamed on the City of Norwalk Facebook page.