On Friday, April, 28th, Town of Barnstable staff including Kate Maldonado, Assistant Director of Planning & Development; Andy Bernier, Tree Warden; and Alice Marcus Krieg, Grants Coordinator; joined by Town Council President Matthew Levesque, School Committee Chair Mike Judge, as well as Kat Garofoli, AmeriCorps Program Manager; Robert Skubal, AmeriCorps Upper Cape Program Supervisor; and AmeriCorps members Jodi Monroe, Leo Lainez, Avalon Hadley, Emma Grace Deily-Swearingen and Caroline Lawrence celebrated Barnstable’s designation as a Tree City among students and staff of the Hyannis West Elementary School and the Enoch Cobb Early Learning Center.

Sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation, Tree City USA is an awards program that provides public attention and national recognition for local commitments to community trees and forests. Here in Massachusetts, Tree City is administered by the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). Maintaining designation as a Tree City requires annual renewal and observance of Arbor Day with a ceremony among civic leaders and members of the community to plant trees around Town with an official presentation of the Town’s Arbor Day Proclamation. Establishment as a Tree City enables several benefits including preference for grant applications through the Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Urban and Community Forestry Program and promotional items such as flags, road signs and plaques that the Town can proudly boast.

Town Council President Matthew Levesque read the Town of Barnstable’s Arbor Day Proclamation.  AmeriCorps members presented on the importance of planting trees noting that trees help to beautify our neighborhoods, schools and other public places, increase wildlife habitat, reduce noise, improve air quality, keep soil in place and provide shade which helps to reduce air temperature. The ceremony concluded with recitation of the poem:  Tree Poem, Advice from a Tree by Ilan Shamir.

The school campus was improved with five new trees including three Redbuds within the driveway turnaround where the ceremony was held which will produce pink flowers every spring, a European Hornbeam near the entrance of the school whose leaves will turn yellow in the fall and a native Dogwood near the Enoch Cobb Early Learning Center which will produce white flowers every spring. Together, students, staff and visitors of the school can watch as the trees grower stronger and taller each year offering shade and seasonal color for generations to enjoy.

Tree Poem: Advice from a Tree by Ilan Shamir

Dear Friend,
Stand Tall and Proud
Sink your roots deeply into the Earth
Reflect the light of a greater source
Think long term
Go out on a limb
Remember your place among all living beings
Embrace with joy the changing seasons
For each yields its own abundance
The Energy and Birth of Spring
The Growth and Contentment of Summer
The Wisdom to let go of leaves in the Fall
The Rest and Quiet Renewal of Winter
Feel the wind and the sun
And delight in their presence
Look up at the moon that shines down upon you
And the mystery of the stars at night.
Seek nourishment from the good things in life
Simple pleasures
Earth, fresh air, light
Be content with your natural beauty
Drink plenty of water
Let your limbs sway and dance in the breezes
Be flexible
Remember your roots
Enjoy the view