Professor emeritus to give talk on Urban Forestry Project
Community volunteers for the tree inventory
Tom Denny, professor emeritus of music and a community volunteer who is heading up
Sustainable Saratoga’s Urban Forestry Project, will give a presentation titled “Saratoga’s
Trees: Past, Present, and Future” at Skidmore on Wednesday, Jan. 30, at 5:30 p.m.
in Davis Auditorium of Palamountain Hall.
The talk will place the recently completed inventory of Saratoga Springs street and park trees into a broader context of the city’s history, current policies, and future plans. Archival photographs will illustrate how the famous elms and other trees shaped Saratoga’s historic ambience. Current photographs and inventory data will frame discussion of the role trees could play in building a sustainable future for the city.
Sustainable Saratoga produced the inventory as an in-kind donation to the city. Over 125 local volunteers assisted Sustainable Saratoga’s forestry professionals during the three-year inventory project. The inventory will provide data for the city’s Urban Forest Master Plan, to be formulated this spring, with funding from a New York State DEC urban forestry grant.
“Trees, along with other green infrastructure, are increasingly recognized as cost-effective pieces of the urban infrastructure. The benefits of trees are widely documented,” said Denny. He cited such benefits as energy savings, positive impact on retail and restaurant profitability, filtering of air and storm water pollution, removal of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, and increased real estate values. “Not to mention the sheer beauty of the trees, perhaps the single most defining feature of a gracious, pedestrian-friendly, complete street design,” added Denny.
Said Denny, “From the inventory analysis we learned that Saratoga’s street trees provide the city with benefits worth over $1 million a year, while DPW’s budget for trees is around $125,000. That kind of return on investment tells me that the urban forest should be a serious part of all infrastructure planning.”
The presentation is co-sponsored by Sustainable Saratoga, the Environmental Studies Program at Skidmore, and the college’s Sustainable Skidmore program.
Sustainable Saratoga is a local not-for-profit advocacy group. Since its founding five years ago, it has promoted sustainable practices and the protection of natural resources for the benefit of current and future generations in the Saratoga Springs area. Its current major projects include urban forestry, renewable energy, and housing and urban planning.