WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — More trees can now be seen at Thompson Park.

Recently at Thompson Park in Watertown N.Y., a tree planting effort was held to increase tree populations and honor those who started similar projects previously.

According to Watertown City Planner Michael DeMarco, a volunteer tree planting project held on November 7, was held in honor of former Watertown City Mayor, Tom Walker. DeMarco stated that Walker held a key role in implementing Watertown’s Urban Forestry Program, as well as tree planting initiatives that started as early as the 1970s.

During the recent project however, volunteers from the region helped to plant 49 trees of 22 different species. DeMarco stated that each tree is roughly four to five years old.

“Really that was pushed by multiple organizations here in Watertown to replace canopy that had been lost over the last few decades,” stated DeMarco. “And also to mitigate the impacts of the Emerald Ash Borer.”

The plantings themselves are not as simple as taking a young tree and planting them in the ground. All trees planted at Thompson Park were strategically planned as far as species and placement.

“It’s important to have a diverse urban tree population to help protect against future unknown invasive species,” commented DeMarco. “Years ago there were Elm trees that lined Washington street, and other streets in the City. Decades after they were planted who would’ve thought that an invasive fungus would’ve killed them… which is exactly what happened. We need to always make sure that we are not planting too many of the same species in one area.”

Some of the trees planted at Thompson Park will purposefully replace older trees that the City plans to remove to avoid the spread of the Emerald Ash Borer.

Michael DeMarco concluded, “Thompson Park is a really unique area in the city. We have a cathedral of trees here, and we want to be able to have that for generations to come.”

During the volunteer tree planting project dedicated to Tom Walker on November 7, 2020, many organizations from City volunteered their time. These include the City of Watertown, the Northern New York Community Foundation, Tree Watertown, Watertown Noon Rotary Club, Friends of Thompson Park, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, SLELO-PRISM,
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County, Boy Scouts Troop #37, Immaculate Heart Central and Watertown City School District.

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