The Vermilion Tree Commission is entering its seventh year this January of service to the Vermilion community and time has flown. We have grown and expanded in objectives, projects, education, working with the public and service to the community. Some people are certainly aware of what we do, but there is still some confusion about our mission. We thought it might be beneficial to just go back and look out how we came about and what our overall mission is.
The tree commission was created under the auspices of Tree City USA, with direction and help from the Ohio Division of Forestry/ Urban Forestry. Tree City USA, within the Arbor Day Foundation, provides direction, assistance, and national recognition to communities to manage and enhance their municipal forests. To become a Tree City USA community, four standards must be met:
- A tree board, department, or commission to be accountable for the management of city municipal trees. Smaller cities, like Vermilion, usually establish a commission of nonpaid volunteers.
- A basic tree care ordinance, passed by city council, establishing a tree commission establishing a tree board or commission giving them responsibility for public tree care and providing for guidance for planting, maintaining, and removing trees from public spaces. (This was done on January 23, 2012)
- A community forestry program with an annual budget of at least $2 per capita. This standard is met, not only from budgetary monies from city, as well as grants, etc., but also work done with public trees within the city service department and parks department.
- An annual Arbor Day observance and proclamation.
These standards have been met and Vermilion has been Tree City USA for the last six years. The tree commission has done many more activities than just meeting these standards. We have planted trees, maintained young trees, watered, and mulched municipal trees; held tree workshops as well as informed the public through newspaper columns; had Arbor Day activities with Vermilion schools; passed out hundreds of saplings and met the public at the Gardeners’ Fair; as well as other activities as needed.
We are a municipal agency responsible to the mayor and city council for the care and maintenance of municipal trees. For all intents and purposes, these are basically trees in the tree lawn (usually the space between the sidewalk and curb). We do NOT come into homeowner’s property and advise them to cut down or plant new trees, although on occasion, we do offer advice on what trees would be good ones to plant. We are also not a tree service that will cut down or trim large trees. We also may offer some advice on tree problems or diseases, but a certified arborist must treat these problems.
Hopefully, this might define what we do or not do and answer any questions. We certainly encourage residents to attend our monthly meetings (usually second Wednesday of the month or contact us through Ann Maiden in the mayor’s office.
If you have questions or concerns, feel free to contact the Vermilion Tree Commission by contacting Anne Maiden at the Mayor’s Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 440-204-2402. You are also cordially invited to attend our monthly Tree Commission meeting which is on the second Wednesday of the month. The Tree Commission will meet at the Ritter Public Library on Wednesday, January 10, 2017, at 9:30 AM.