Members of the New Haven Tree Commission and volunteers will plant 15 native species of trees Saturday, Oct. 24, at the Parks & Recreation Department’s newly acquired Marylands Farm Park.

According to Tree Commission Chairperson Colleen Simons, the planting is being conducted as part of the Great Tree Canopy Comeback in conjunction with Allen County Friends of the Park.

Volunteers are asked to park at Moser Park and walk to Marylands Farm Park at 559 Rose Ave. They should dress warmly and bring work gloves. Other equipment will be provided. Persons interested in participating can sign up at the Community Center or on the Allen County Friends of the Park Facebook page. Planting will begin at 10 a.m.

Nick Gorenson, a member of the Tree Commission and an employee of the New Haven Adams Township Parks & Recreation Department, will supervise the project. Species to be planted include pawpaw, American hornbeam, northern pecan, northern catalpa, Kentucky coffeetree, American elm, American basswood, elderberry and white Oak.

Simons pointed out that in 2012 New Haven received the National Arbor Day Foundation designation as a “Tree City U.S.A. community.” To obtain the designation, the city had to form a tree board or commission, formulate a tree-care ordnance, have a forestry program with an annual budget of at least $2 per capita and annually proclaim and observe National Arbor Day on April 30. “We reapply for the designation each year,” Simons said.

The Tree Commission, which was established in 2010, was formed by Park Department naturalist Lance Lothamer and Steve McMichael. The mission of the organization is to oversee and care for the trees throughout the city and address the needs of the community in regard to its trees. The overall goal is to improve the tree canopy.

A grant was received from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources to take a detailed inventory of the trees throughout the city to identify trees at risk and locate places that were in need of trees. This professional inventory was done in 2018 and a tree management program was established. Over the time the Tree Commission has been in place, roughly 300 to 400 new trees have been planted.

In addition to Simons, Lothamer and Gorenson, the Tree Commission includes Jeff Ling and Dave Jones.

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