In the midst of a dizzying amount of street and sidewalk reconstruction in and around Purchase Street, the jackhammering paused long enough for a quiet Earth Week celebration — the official planting of a municipal tree financed entirely through donations.

Since launching the Branching Out for Rye tree fund last year, the Rye Sustainability Committee and the Conservation Commission/Advisory Council have been working with the city manager, planner, and engineer selecting specific locations.

“Part of the thinking behind the fund is to plant the right tree in the right place,” said Sara Goddard, Sustainability Committee chair. “Planting native trees is the objective. So is making Rye a Tree City once again.”

The Branching Out fund, chaired by Melissa Grieco, has so far raised $4,200, $900 of which was used to purchase and plant the honey locust now growing on the west side of Purchase Street.

A number of citizens have been an integral part of the effort. Chris Cohan put together a long list of appropriate trees for consideration. Andrea Alban-Davies suggested getting the Brownie troops to go around and ask for donations. One of the biggest supporters so far is Rye Country Day School, which has its own sustainability committee.

With a solicitation awareness and educational campaign underway, the fund will keep growing and continue to aid in the planning, purchasing, planting, and maintenance of municipal trees in vacant spaces, once graced by majestic specimens, all over town.

Pictured at the April 19 ribbon-cutting ceremony, from right: Melissa Grieco, Sara Goddard, Deputy Mayor Julie Killian, Bill Lawyer, Tracy Stora, and Gretchen Crowley.

Photo by Robin Jovanovich

While DPW crew did the heavy lifting, a number of Brownies pitched in to help distribute the top soil.

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