Connecticut’s trees are a source of pride for its residents and they attract visitors with their picturesque beauty, lining downtowns and neighborhoods across the state. The aesthetic splendor of trees in the state are complemented by the multiple environmental benefits they offer. They reduce noise and air pollution, decrease the erosion of soil by slowing rainfall, supply wildlife habitat and provide shade. It is easy to appreciate these valuable natural resources without considering the important responsibility that rests with a municipal tree warden, who ensures the protection of these public assets.
The Tree Wardens’ Association of Connecticut (TWAC) celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary this spring, in observation of a quarter of a century of efforts to guide municipal tree wardens. A 501(c)(3) voluntary membership organization, TWAC was established by Senior Extension Educator Bob Ricard in 1992. As a member of UConn Extension, Ricard sought to provide training, assistance and education to tree wardens across the state and create social networking opportunities. TWAC held a gala event, with workshops and an award ceremony on April 28 at the Omni Hotel in New Haven to mark the occasion.
The stewardship of public trees was formalized in Connecticut General Assembly in 1901 with the passage of a state law requiring every town and city to appoint a tree warden. The appointed tree warden is responsible for the care and control of trees and shrubs in their municipality. The only exceptions are trees along state highways, which are overseen by the Commissioner of Transportation, and trees in parks that fall under the jurisdiction of a Park Commissioner. Tree wardens may appoint deputies to assist with carrying out the duties of the tree warden. The intention of the legislation was urban reforestation while ensuring public benefit and safety. (more…)