Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor | Richard A. Ball, Commissioner
Jessica A. Chittenden

April 18, 2008

Arbor Day Celebrated in New York

Capitol Park Ceremony Includes Tree Planting; Presents 2008 Poster

State and local officials, industry representatives, and local school children gathered for a special ceremony recognizing Arbor Day in New York at West Capitol Park in Albany. New York’s annual Arbor Day observance highlighted the importance of trees in New York and featured a special tree planting and presented several industry awards, as well as the State’s official Arbor Day poster.

New York State Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker said, "New York is fortunate to have such an abundance of beautiful and healthy trees that surround us in our everyday life. Trees line our city streets and fill our forests to remind every New Yorker the crucial role trees play in our communities and daily lives. I am honored to be a part of this event that continues to improve and beautify New York State. I urge all of New York to celebrate Arbor Day by planting a tree this year."

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Pete Grannis said, "Each year, Arbor Day provides an ideal opportunity to promote the planting of new trees to further enhance communities and protect our environment. DEC is a proud partner in those tree efforts here in New York and is committed to helping everyone continue to protect these critical, renewable resources, whether they live in the largest cities or the most rural towns."

West Capitol Park, adjacent to the State Capitol, is a popular lunch-hour destination for state employees and many workers in downtown Albany. The park is lined with Greenspire Linden trees, and in honor of Arbor Day, a new Greenspire Linden was planted to replace one that had previously fallen.

New York State Office of General Services Commissioner John C. Egan said, "OGS is pleased to participate in today’s celebration of Arbor Day. Our groundskeepers take pride in our facilities and are working to ensure that West Capitol Park remains a gathering place for those who live and work in the Capital District for years to come." 

In addition to the tree planting, today’s ceremony also recognized several individuals for their outstanding environmental stewardship efforts and contributions within the arboriculture industries.

James Farrell, a fifth grader from Maple Hill Middle School in Rensselaer County, was recognized for winning the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Arbor Day Poster Contest. Farrell’s poster, depicting the theme "Trees are Terrific…Inside and Out!" was reproduced as posters and bookmarks and will be distributed to schools across the state.

This year’s recipients of the State Environmental Beautification Landscape Awards, presented by the New York State Nursery Landscape Association included:

· Barry Block, Barry Block Landscape Design & Contracting, Inc. of East Moriches won the grand prize for Residential Landscapes over $100,000;

· Steven Dubner, Steven Dubner Landscaping Inc. in Dix Hills won the grand prize for Residential Landscapes $50,000 to $100,000, as well as for Commercial Landscapes over $10,000;

· Timothy Barry, Dodds and Eder of Oyster Bay won the grand prize for Residential Landscapes $25,000 to $50,000;

· Gerald Blum, Schlick Design Group of Greenlawn won the grand prize for Commercial Landscapes $25,000 to $50,000;

· Craig Donley, Ireland Gannon Associates, Inc. of East Norwich won the grand prize for Unique and Unusual Landscapes over $6,000;

· James Sollecito, Sollecito Landscaping Nursery, LLC of Syracuse won the grand prize for Unique Use of Water;

· Jerry Parmenter, Elemental Landscapes, Inc. in Voorheesville won the grand prize for Garden Structures & Pavements $10,000; and

· James Morgan and Sandra Waddacor, Ireland Gannon Associates, Inc. in East Norwich won the grand prize in Garden Structures & Pavements over $25,000.

The ceremony concluded with presenting the 2008 Arbor Day Poster. This year’s poster features a photo take in Ashland-Pinnacle State Forest in the Catskills by Melody Wolcott, a 20 year employee of DEC. Paper for the poster comes from the sustainably-managed Adirondack Forests and was donated by International Paper’s Ticonderoga Mill.

Arbor Day is a nationally celebrated observance that encourages tree planting and tree care and highlights the importance of trees to our environment, our economy and our quality of life. Founded by J. Sterling Morton in Nebraska in 1872, National Arbor Day is celebrated each year on the last Friday in April. This year, Arbor Day will be officially celebrated April 25.

Arbor Day in New York State is coordinated by the Arbor Day Committee, made up of representatives from the New York State Departments of Agriculture and Markets and Environmental Conservation, New York State Nursery Landscape Association, New York State Arborists and the Empire State Forest Products Association.

2008 Press Releases