September 21, 2014

Medina
Thunderstorms
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Investing in trees

Medina celebrated Arbor Day on Thursday by raising awareness of a tree’s value to a community and distributing saplings to third-graders.

City Parks and Forestry Department employees also posted signs on trees around Public Square that show the monetary and environmental value of each tree.

City arborist Jansen Wehrley said he used a program offered on www.iTreetools.org to determine the value of the trees. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service created the iTree program to help calculate the value of “urban forests.”

med-a1-color-5-cols-042810arborday01kb-copyThe students in Sue Bolender’s third-grade class at Ella Canavan Elementary School in Medina display the posters they made and the flowering dogwood saplings they received Thursday in celebration of Arbor Day. (Kaitlin Bushinski / Gazette)

“We’re trying to be more proactive instead of reactive,” Wehrley said. “We’re trying to raise awareness.”

One sign said a massive red maple tree can reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide by 1,236 pounds annually, eliminating some greenhouse gases that cause global warming. Another tree, a pin oak, will intercept 3,764 gallons of storm water runoff annually, helping to prevent floods.

“Trees are the only piece of city infrastructure that appreciate in value,” Wehrley said.

Unlike city streets that depreciate the day after they are laid due to erosion, trees provide shade to cool homes, beautify city streets and prevent erosion and flooding, he said.

The Medina Kiwanis Club partners with the city to distribute saplings to the 725 third-graders in the city’s seven public elementary schools, Medina Christian Academy and St. Francis Xavier School.

The club also hosted a luncheon ceremony for winners of the student poster contest.

The students created a poster and wrote a letter to a tree to observe Arbor Day.

“We get stories (from students) after years about how the trees are doing,” said Dale Weygandt, a Kiwanis Club member and one of the organizers of the Arbor Day events.

This year the club distributed flowering dogwood saplings to the students.

“We give them planting instructions,” Wehrley.

He said distributing the trees was an important aspect of Arbor Day education.

“My job is to promote and to care for the trees in the city, so educating the kids in school is a big thing,” he said.

Wehrley said 2010 is the 28th consecutive year Medina has been awarded the Tree City USA designation by the Arbor Day Foundation.

Qualifications for the designation include having a tree board or commission, having a tree ordinance, having a forestry department and having an Arbor Day proclamation or observance.

The informational signs on uptown trees will be left up for a week, Wehrley said.

National Arbor Day is today.

Contact Kaitlin Bushinski at (330) 721-4050 or kbushinski@medina-gazette.com.