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West Haven News

Posted on: May 3, 2021

Tree plantings mark Arbor Day in West Haven

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PHOTO — Mayor Nancy R. Rossi, fourth from left, reads a proclamation declaring Arbor Day in West Haven on Friday, April 30, as, from left, Treasurer Michael P. Last, Housing Authority Commissioner Harold “Hal” Burns, Tree Commission member Gail S. Burns, Hubbard Farm’s Wood and Snow owner Steven Johnstone, Councilman Gary Donovan, D-at large, and Tree Warden Leo Kelly look on. During the ceremony, held in Old Grove Park, Rossi dedicated the planting of a sugar tyme crab apple near the beachfront bathhouse. (City Photo/Louis P. Esposito Jr.)

WEST HAVEN, May 3, 2021 — Throwing shovels of dirt, Mayor Nancy R. Rossi and city leaders dedicated the planting of a sugar tyme crab apple in Old Grove Park in observance of West Haven’s Arbor Day celebration Friday, April 30.

Accompanying Rossi at the annual tree planting were her executive assistant, Louis P. Esposito Jr.; Councilman Gary Donovan, D-at large; Treasurer Michael P. Last; Tree Commission member Gail S. Burns; Housing Authority Commissioner Harold “Hal” Burns; Tree Warden Leo Kelly; and Steven Johnstone, the owner of Hubbard Farm’s Wood and Snow LLC of West Haven.

Rossi marked the ceremony, held near the beachfront bathhouse, by reading a mayoral proclamation declaring Arbor Day in West Haven.

Reading the proclamation, Rossi said the sugar tyme crab apple, grown in the North, “is known for its abundant pink buds, lightly fragrant white flowers and persistent dark red fruit.”

The tree was paid for by the city.

“The spirit of Arbor Day remains strong and underscores the importance of planting trees to provide us with clean air and water, habitat for wildlife and endless natural beauty — all for a better future,” Rossi said.

The next day, Rossi also dedicated the planting of a pink flowering dogwood on the Campbell Avenue side of the First Congregational Church during an Arbor Day event attended by members of Cub Scout Pack 288 and the church, including Christopher E. Vargo Jr., a pack den leader, and the Rev. E. Carl Howard, the senior minister of the 301-year-old church.

Among the West Haven officials in attendance were Donovan, Last, Kelly, and Gail and Hal Burns. They were joined by City Council Chairman Ronald M. Quagliani, D-at large; council members Barry Lee Cohen, R-10, and Colleen O’Connor, R-at large; City Clerk Patricia C. Horvath; Tax Collector Dorothy Chambrelli; and Ernie Chiarelli, the project coordinator and sidewalk inspector for the Department of Public Works.

At the Campbell Avenue tree planting, held on a small plot of land maintained by the city and picked out by Kelly, Rossi read a citation congratulating and recognizing the Scouts for their leadership and volunteerism, saying, “Your dedication to this project and event is truly appreciated.”

The flowering dogwood, native to eastern North America, “is commonly planted as an ornamental in residential and public areas because of its showy bracts and interesting bark structure.”

According to Vargo, who is also chairman of the church’s board of trustees, the Scouts wanted to do something special to commemorate Arbor Day, “so we had the idea of asking the First Congregational Church, its charter organization, to partner together and plant a tree in the city. Without hesitation, the Rev. Carl Howard agreed to purchase a tree as part of the church’s outreach initiative.”

Both trees were recommended by Kelly.

“Leo Kelly was a tremendous help with setting up the event, acquiring the tree, and advising us of its placement and care,” Vargo said. “This project and event were a great learning experience for the Scouts and a wonderful outreach for the church.”

Vargo added, “The Scouts were excited to work together to plant a beautiful dogwood around the church’s Campbell Avenue driveway.”

Rossi has been working with Kelly and the Tree Commission to improve West Haven’s tree inventory process and implement a sustainable and safe treescape in the heart of downtown.

Arbor Day was founded in 1872 by Julius Sterling Morton in Nebraska City, Nebraska.

By the 1920s, each state had enacted public laws mandating an Arbor Day observance. The customary observance is to plant a tree.

On the first Arbor Day, April 10, 1872, more than 1 million trees were planted.

— MICHAEL P. WALSH, Public Relations Information Coordinator

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Mayor Nancy R. Rossi, fourth from left, reads a proclamation declaring Arbor Day in West Haven on Friday, April 30, as, from left, Treasurer Michael P. Last, Housing Authority Commissioner Harold “Hal” Burns, Tree Commission member Gail S. Burns, Hubbard Farm’s Wood and Snow owner Steven Johnstone, Councilman Gary Donovan, D-at large, and Tree Warden Leo Kelly look on. During the ceremony, held in Old Grove Park, Rossi dedicated the planting of a sugar tyme crab apple near the beachfront bathhouse. (City Photo/Louis P. Esposito Jr.)

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Mayor Nancy R. Rossi reads a citation recognizing members of Cub Scout Pack 288 for their leadership and volunteerism in planting a pink flowering dogwood on the Campbell Avenue side of the First Congregational Church of West Haven during an Arbor Day event Saturday, May 1. With them are, from left, Tree Warden Leo Kelly, City Clerk Patricia C. Horvath, Tax Collector Dorothy Chambrelli, Treasurer Michael P. Last, and City Council members Colleen O’Connor, R-at large, Gary Donovan, D-at large, Barry Lee Cohen, R-10, and Chairman Ronald M. Quagliani, D-at large. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

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Rossi and the Scouts are joined by the Rev. E. Carl Howard, the senior minister of the First Congregational Church. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

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Rossi and the Scouts with Pack 288 leaders. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

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