Community celebrates Arbor Day with apple orchard planting

Greenwich Land Trust (GLT) and the Greenwich Tree Conservancy (GTC) invite the public to celebrate Arbor Day, Thursday, April 26, at 2 p.m. with a tree planting ceremony at the newly established Heirloom Orchard at the Malkin Preserve.

First Selectman Peter Tesei will present an Arbor Day Proclamation, honoring the national day of observance dedicated to tree planting and increasing awareness of the importance of trees. Peter and Isabel Malkin, as well as other dignitaries and members of the community will also be on hand to commemorate the day.

Greenwich also is celebrating its recent Tree City USA designation, awarded by the Arbor Day Foundation, a result of the Tree Conservancy’s dedicated efforts. This nationwide movement provides the framework to assist communities in managing and expanding their public trees to provide shade and beauty for future generations.

“The Greenwich Tree Conservancy is pleased to partner with the town to make our community a healthier and more aesthetically pleasing place to live and work,” said JoAnn Messina, executive director of the Greenwich Tree Conservancy. “Our partnership with Greenwich Land Trust has allowed us to further expand our mission to enhance and preserve the tree resources of Greenwich.”

The two-acre Malkin Preserve, located between #20 and #28 Pheasant Lane in mid-country, was donated to the Land Trust in 2005. At that time, it was a home site with a mixture of landscape vegetation and meadow habitat.

“The Land Trust was pleased to have the opportunity to work with GTC and develop a detailed stewardship plan for the property,” explained GLT Executive Director Will Kies. “Today the site has been returned to open space that is now permanently preserved and provides a vital refuge for wildlife in a largely residential area.”

The stewardship plan includes invasive plant management and the addition of fruit trees, which will provide forage and cover for deer, turkey and song birds such as kingbirds, orioles, bluebirds and flycatchers. The Preserve will also offer a site for educational programing, and volunteer stewardship and GLT Youth Corp projects.

This spring, a dozen bearing-age trees of heirloom apple varieties (Russet, Northern Spy and Melrose), funded by the Tree Conservancy, were planted at the Malkin Preserve, providing a living link to the agricultural history of Greenwich.  Grafting these varieties onto younger trees allows these historical apple varieties to continue to flourish in the region and gives people the opportunity to taste a little of Greenwich’s past.

For more information about the Greenwich Land Trust, visit gltrust.org.

For more information about the Greenwich Tree Conservancy, visit greenwichtreeconservancy.org.

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