Tree Grant for Brandon comes through

By NEIL SILINS, Tree Warden

When the Town of Brandon re-paved Park Street, several large maples were cut down. In 2022, a large group of risk trees also had to be cut down. Risk trees are those that are likely to fail and cause damage to people and/or property. Ever since then, I have been trying to come up with a plan to replace those trees.  I’ve called this my “50-year plan,” because it might be fifty years before the trees that are planted now will be large enough that when we have to remove a failing tree, we won’t create a large gap in the tree canopy. After spending a lot of energy looking at 50 years as a whole, I realized that my plan could be better accomplished by taking it one year at a time.  Plant a few trees each and every year.  In 50 years, well, there’s the plan. Then I hope the new tree warden will repeat. 

In late 2023, the Vermont Urban & Community Forestry program issued a request for proposals for grants meant to enhance the tree canopies in the heavily used downtown areas of towns in Vermont. This fit the bill for our goals for Brandon’s canopy. We submitted a proposal that included working on our tree inventory, planting and maintaining 14 trees, and removing up to 4 risk trees. The grant activities must be completed by June 30, 2026.

I am pleased to announce that the proposal submitted by the Town of Brandon was successful and we are the recipient of a $10,800 grant. The grant provides funds for everything in our proposal! The grant is called a 1:1 match, which means that the Town must provide goods and/or services equal in value to the money that’s provided by the grant. 

Brandon has a tree committee, called the Brandon Tree Group.  It is currently seeking members at all levels. Whether you choose to join the Brandon Tree Group or not, I hope you’ll volunteer to help us do some of the work. All of Brandon’s required match, included in the grant proposal, is in the form of volunteer and town employee time. This means that the town will not have to spend cash on its match if we’re able to provide enough labor hours to satisfy the town’s obligation.  The grant requires time to continue work on the tree inventory, time to plant the new trees, time to maintain the new trees, and time to take care of other trees throughout Brandon. Implementing the terms of this grant will require the input and cooperation of the tree warden, the Brandon Tree Group and its volunteers, and the Brandon Highway Department, which is responsible for landscaping in town, among many other things. It’s fabulous news about winning the grant monies, but now I need your help. 

How can you help? Initially we need volunteers to help host a town “open house” type of meeting where we welcome the general public to talk about this grant, its terms, volunteer needs, and what steps we are going to take to strengthen the tree canopy in the central areas of Brandon. I’d like all of Brandon to be excited and pleased about this opportunity. Please contact me by email at to volunteer or learn more. ns from April 2024 through June 2026.

What does everyone think about a meeting mid March? In the meantime, if anyone is available to help edit a Reporter article, I need some help.

Best to all, and thanks for stepping up as tree advocates.

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