Brockport’s Arbor Day – A community tree-planting event April 26

By on April 15, 2019

The Village of Brockport will celebrate its 15th Arbor Day on Friday, April 26. The tree-planting event annually involves a variety of community citizens, including public school and college students and staff, to propagate the population of municipal trees called an “urban forest.”

The planting this year will be on Holley Street. The gathering site is the Monika Andrews Park starting at 10 a.m. Water and refreshments provided. Volunteers will be instructed on digging and planting the crabapple trees and move on to 15 planting sites on the south side of Holley Street. The work is scheduled to end by noon. All are welcome to join in. Dress for digging, rain or shine. Shovels are provided by the college facilities crew, usually enough for everyone. Bring one if you can.

“This year we will be working with Celebration Forest to not only plant trees on Arbor Day but to celebrate Earth Day with a concert on May 4 from 3 to 5 p.m. at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Brockport,” Kathy Goetz said. “The Brockport Buskers will be singing and the Dusty Roads band will be playing to add to the festivities.”

Kathy Goetz is a member of the Village’s Tree Board, chaired by Mayor Margay Blackman. For information, phone 585-230-5966 or email

Brockport’s Arbor Day has roots in college-community collaboration

In 2005, while a professor of Anthropology at the College at Brockport, Mayor Margay Blackman was approached by one of her student majors, Mark Beckwith, about an internship. He loved forestry, so Blackman recommended he pursue “urban forestry” in the village, mixing trees with people and more suitable to his major.

Intern Beckwith surveyed other municipalities and suggested establishing a Village Tree Board and becoming a “Tree City USA,” a designation given by the National Arbor Day Foundation. He also suggested conducting a computer inventory of village trees and revising the village’s trees and vegetation ordinances. All his suggestions have been accomplished with the Tree Board started in 2005 and the first Arbor Day held that same year. The “Tree City, U.S.A.” status was awarded in 2009 and each year since.

Jo Matela, Mayor of Brockport and working with Beckwith at the time, reflected, “We (village officials) saw the need to have a comprehensive plan for tree management, including an inventory of the trees,” referring to planned caring for and replacement of trees. Adding about the urban forest success to date, she said, “We have seen many benefits from this program in terms of sustainability and the beautification of our village.”

Note: Earth Day International, April 22, began in 1970 to honor the earth. Arbor Day International began in 1983 to encourage tree planting and is always the last Friday in April.