Fairfield achieved Tree City USA recognition for the 30th year by meeting the program’s requirements: a tree department, a tree-care ordinance and an Arbor Day observance. Communities must also receive the endorsement for this honor from Connecticut’s State Forester. Fairfield is only one of 18 communities in the State to be designated a Tree City USA and according to the Arbor Day Foundation, is tied with Stamford as the “longest-running active Tree City USA Community.”
For each year the Town celebrates Arbor Day and its status as a Tree City USA, a new tree is planted at a location chosen by the Tree Warden. Some of the previous locations have been Riverfield Elementary School, the historic Town Green, Greenfield Hill Cemetery, and the History Center. Generous citizens and organizations that have donated trees over the years include the Fairfield Forestry Committee, the Fairfield Garden Club, the Eunice Dennie Burr Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) and the Tree Warden’s Association of Connecticut, Inc. along with its Tree Committee which presented the Town with a “Thanksgiving Tree” in 2011.
Last April, in honor and recognition of the late Dan Caruso, Fairfield's long-time Probate Judge, the Fairfield Forestry Committee through the Commemorative Tree Program planted a Softer Magnolia behind the John J. Sullivan Independence Hall and near the Probate Court where Judge Caruso had worked. Funds for this tree came from private donations. A few months later when the Town received a special flag for its 30-year Tree City USA milestone the Forestry Committee decided it was fitting to unveil the flag in front of the Softer Magnolia.
The Fairfield Forestry Committee promotes stewardship of town-owned trees and assists the town Tree Warden with implementing the Town’s Community Forest Management Plan. The committee promotes awareness and appreciation for the environmental, economic, and cultural value of trees in Fairfield.
First Selectman Tetreau said, “Fairfield is very proud to continue to be recognized as a Tree City USA—and to celebrate this wonderful milestone this year. The Town takes great pride in the importance and beauty of our trees and attributes their care and protection to the diligent efforts of our Tree Warden, Jeff Minder, the volunteer resident-led Fairfield Forestry Committee, all of our garden clubs and advisory committee, and our Public Works Department. I especially want to thank all those involved in the tree dedication and planting honoring our late Probate Judge, Dan Caruso.” According to the Arbor Day Foundation, trees provide multiple benefits to a community when properly planted and maintained. They help improve the visual appeal of a neighborhood, increase property values, reduce home cooling costs, remove air pollutants and provide wildlife habitat, among many other benefits. More information on the program is available at www.arborday.org/TreeCityUSA.
Front Row, left to right: First Selectman Mike Tetreau, Tree Warden Jeff Minder, Fairfield Probate Court Attorney Kate Maxham and Assistant Clerk Diane Auray, and Town Clerk Betsy Browne. Back row, left to right: Fairfield Forestry Committee member David McMahon, Fairfield Forestry Committee Chair Mary Hogue, former Fairfield Forestry Committee member Nan Nelson, Committee Advisor Geoff Steadman, and Fairfield Forestry Committee member Tom Corell.