LAKE PLACID - For the better part of the decade, an organization in Lake Placid has been working to make the village a little bit greener.
The Lake Placid Tree Board is planning to hold its fifth annual Arbor Day Ceremony May 21, part of an ongoing effort to encourage tree planting in the community. The event will be held 5 p.m. at Jewtraw Park on Station Street.
"We're trying to help develop an ethic in the village for tree planting as part of the pressures we feel from development in the village," said Tree Board co-chair Tim Chick.
Since 2002, the organization has facilitated the planting of dozens of adult trees and over a thousand seedlings on both public and private land in and around Lake Placid. Chick said increasing the number and variety of trees helps preserve the village's identity.
The Tree Board works in conjunction with the village Electric Department, which offers a buy-one-get-one-free tree program to village residents. Through contributions from residents and the village government, the Tree Board is able to plant six to eight new adult trees each year. Village Highway Department employees assist with planting and watering the trees.
Though Arbor Day is held on the last Friday in April, the Tree Board holds their ceremony about a month later when the ground is thawed enough to allow for tree planting and more of the summer residents have returned to the area.
Also, Chick and fellow tree board member Bob Hanna visit third graders at Lake Placid Elementary School each year for a Mini Arbor Day where they guide students in planting nine new trees in a small nursery at the school.
Each year, youth from various organizations get involved as volunteers at the event. Girl Scouts, teens from Shipman Youth Center, and students from North Country School and National Sports Academy have all taken turns planting trees on the day of the ceremony.
This year's ceremony will include the planting of a liberty elm, a genetically engineered breed of elm tree that is resistant to dutch elm disease. Chick said the town has lost several of its elm trees to dutch elm disease in the last five years.
"By planting this new elm, we hope to encourage the replacement of a lot of the dying elms," said Chick.
In anticipation of their annual event, the Tree Board has sent an application to the national Arbor Day Foundation for Lake Placid to be deemed a Tree City.
In order to be considered, the municipality must have a Tree Board, hold an Arbor Day celebration annually, have an ordinance for tree care, and have a community forestry program with a budget of at least $2 per capita.
"Now that we have all four of these criteria in place, we're hoping to be recognized nationally as a Tree City," Chick said.
As a Tree City, Hanna said Lake Placid would not only receive a boost to its public image, but also greater chances to obtain state and federal funding for forestry programs.
"We want this to be a wonderful place for people that come visit and for people that live here year-round," Chick said.