In December of 2020, the Village of Ossining was awarded a NYS DEC Urban Forestry grant to plant approximately 80 trees, for which the Village had applied back in 2019. This project targets two of Ossining’s most highly used parks – Nelson Park and Nelson Sitting Park. The overall goal of the tree planting project is to increase the tree canopy in these parks to provide shade, screen the parks from surrounding dense development and traffic noise, and improve the health and quality of life for residents.
Both Nelson Park and Nelson Sitting Park, located in the southwestern section of the Village, are in a densely developed neighborhood and are the two largest green spaces in the Village. They are easily accessible to the entire downtown neighborhood and are highly used for both organized and informal recreation. Nelson Park covers approximately 10 acres, while Nelson Sitting Park is about 3 acres. Both parks were severely lacking in trees and canopy cover. Over time, as trees died from age, disease, or storm damage, the parks gradually became deforested, which has resulted in little shade to provide relief from urban heat. The planting of trees in Nelson Park and Nelson Sitting Park will significantly enhance these parks’ aesthetics and biodiversity and improve the quality of life for Village residents, many of whom depend on parks to access outdoor recreation space.
As part of this grant, the Village welcomed a variety of partners, including Green Ossining and the Village’s Environmental Advisory Committee, Cornell Cooperative Extension Master Gardener/Green Ossining Member Donna Sharrett, a consulting arborist team from SavATree, and George Profous, a DEC Senior Forester for Region 3. This team worked closely with Village staff. They established the actual costs of trees and accessories, visited the nursery to select species native to Ossining, and created planting plans. During the planting stage, they provided training to staff on tree planting and maintenance while supervising the initial planting to ensure proper methodology and plan to administer post-planting site visits to evaluate compliance.
The Village has a long-standing history of collaborating with a network of well-established local non-profit and community organizations. This collaboration is integral to the Village’s operating style and advances the government’s efficacy.
The long-term benefits of this project will continue to increase each year as the trees mature and additional trees are added. Adding trees to these two urban parks will not only improve air quality and sequester carbon, but will also protect water quality by helping to manage stormwater and alleviate the urban heat island effect. These trees will provide shade, improve aesthetics, encourage social interactions, and generally improve the quality of life for adjacent neighborhood residents.
We are pleased to present to the community a bilingual tree planting demonstration filmed on Thursday, May 20th, led by Cornell Cooperative Extension Master Gardener/Green Ossining Member Donna Sharrett and our very own Recreation and Parks Foreman Miguel Marra.
Working with our community partners to educate residents on the importance and value of trees to the health of the planet and of our families and friends will encourage exponential investment for decades to come. We are proud of our partners and staff for their continued contributions and commitment to these goals.