NORWALK, Conn. -- The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection announced 15 urban forestry grants, including $7,000 for Norwalk.
The DEEP forestry grants aim "to encourage tree planting and tree management best practices in communities across the state," according to a press release. DEEP also designated 19 communities as a Tree City USA for their commitment to tree care during the past year.
Norwalk Tree Alliance will receive $7,003 for the Norwalk Tree Identification and Educational Project.
"The Alliance has been involved in numerous tree related projects throughout the City of Norwalk," representatives said. "This grant will better allow these projects educate the public through markers and signs."
Grants were awarded to Bridgeport, Essex, Farmington, Glastonbury, Hartford, New Britain, North Canaan, Norwalk, Ridgefield, Stratford, Waterford and West Haven.
“Through these grants we are encouraging scenic beauty and healthy eco-systems in our communities,” said DEEP Commissioner Rob Klee. “These grants also support the work and recommendations of the state Vegetative Management Task Force and Governor Malloy’s Two Storm Panel by ensuring that we plant the ‘right trees’ in the ‘right places,’ that urban trees are properly pruned and managed, and that we continue to provide a foundation for coordination and communication among local tree wardens, residents, and the electric utility companies.”
In addition to the 19 communities receiving Tree City USA designations, the University of Connecticut earned the designation of being Connecticut’s first Tree Campus USA.
“The standards of Tree City and Tree Campus USA set a high bar. We are pleased that we have communities that have been able to demonstrate their strong commitment to urban trees and the improvement in the quality of life that trees bring,” said Chris Martin, DEEP’s Director of Forestry. “UConn and each of these 19 communities should be very proud of what they have accomplished.”
In addition to being designated Tree Cities USA, Norwalk and Wethersfield will be presented with Growth Awards by the Arbor Day Foundation. To qualify for a Growth Award, the communities "demonstrated a commitment to expanding their tree care programs," according to the release. These awards will be presented at local Arbor Day events.
Stamford and Fairfield have been Tree Cities USA the longest – each having been so designated for 26 years. Norwalk is celebrating 10 years as a Tree City USA.