Growing Strong: Looking to Future, Yorktown Celebrates Arbor Day

Girl Scout Troop 1326 tosses dirt from each corner of Yorktown onto the base of a recently planted river birch. Credits: Gabrielle Bilik
Girl Scout Troop 1326—Rijuta Patel, 9, Ava Conetta, 10, Monica Lapman, 10, troop leader Jennie Sunshine, Gianna Zumbo, 10, Emily Fields, 10, Hannah Sunshine, 6, Katherine Achata, 10, Maya Sunshine, 10 Credits: Gabrielle Bilik
Zayneb Cherif, third place winner of the fifth grade submissions, stands next to her poster. Credits: Gabrielle Bilik
Michael DeSisto, Thomas DeSisto, Allison DeSisto, Charlotte Lorraine DeSisto, Alice Roker, Diana Quast, Geri Schwalb and Isabel Cavanagh Credits: Gabrielle Bilik
Dave Paganelli, Michael Grace, Ed Lachterman, Michael Desisto, Thomas DeSisto, Allison DeSisto and Charlotte Lorraine DeSisto Credits: Mary Capoccia
This plaque honors Lorrain DeSisto, who was instrumental in reestablishing Yorktown’s Arbor Day commemoration. Credits: Gabrielle Bilik
Credits: Gabrielle Bilik
Poster contest winners Credits: Gabrielle Bilik
Supervisor Michael Grace reads the Arbor Day Proclamation. Behind him are Deputy Supervisor, Gregory Bernard, Councilman Ed Lachterman and Councilman Vishnu Patel. Credits: Gabrielle Bilik
Bill Kellner, chair of the Tree Conservation Advisory Commission Credits: Gabrielle Bilik
Credits: Gabrielle Bilik
Dale Saltzman led the awards ceremony for the winners of the Arbor Day poster contest. Credits: Gabrielle Bilik

YORKTOWN, N.Y. – This year’s annual Arbor Day ceremony squeezed a lot of celebrating into 45 minutes, as more than 50 residents and town officials gathered on a sunny, warm day at Patriot Garden on Thursday, April 28.

In addition to observing the national holiday, the occasion marked the sixth year of Yorktown’s Tree City USA recognition from the Arbor Day Foundation. According to its website, the Tree City USA program’s mission is “to celebrate the importance of an urban tree canopy and improve care of these vital city trees.”

Bill Kellner of the Tree Conservation Advisory Commission led the series of ceremonies, which was kicked off by Girl Scout Troop 1326 with the Pledge of Allegiance. Town Supervisor Michael Grace read the Arbor Day proclamation and Councilman Vishnu Patel said a few words about the significance of acting in the present with the future in mind.

Sign Up for E-News

“Someone is sitting in the shade because someone planted a tree long ago,” Patel said.

A special ceremony was held in honor of Lorraine DeSisto, who was instrumental in re-establishing Yorktown’s Arbor Day commemoration. She died at 65 in 2014 after a long battle with ovarian cancer. A tree was planted in her honor and a plaque was placed under it. DeSisto’s family was in attendance. Unveiling the plaque were Alice Roker, Geri Schwalb and Town Clerk Diana Quast, all of the Yorktown Rotary Club.

“We miss her very much. She will always remain in our hearts especially on this day,” Kellner said.

The winners of the annual Arbor Day poster contest were announced and the entries were on display during the ceremony. This year’s theme was, “Native Trees Provide a Home for Wildlife.” The participants, all fourth- and fifth-grade students at Lakeland and Yorktown schools, received certificates. The winning submissions will be made into banners and displayed on select streets in Yorktown, Shrub Oak and Jefferson Valley. They will also be hung in town hall in July and on the town’s website.

Girl Scout Troop 1326 wished good health to the trees from the four corners of Yorktown by tossing dirt from each corner onto the base of a recently planted river birch. They will earn their Arbor Patch for their efforts.

Kellner invited the girls back for Arbor Day 2047 when, like them, the saplings they assisted in planting will be fully grown.

“In the year 2047, when you see the tall trees that have grown up in the Patriot Garden, maybe you’ll think back to Arbor Day 2017 and how you started something really big and really important,” he said.

He thanked the town board and Yorktown Planning Department, Comptroller Patricia Caporale, the Department of Parks and Recreation, and Highway Superintendent Dave Paganelli for their support and contributions to the ceremony.

Quast, recreation commission chair, was given the Tree City USA hat in recognition of her efforts to further Arbor Day and the environmental quality of the town’s parks. Kellner also acknowledged the Yorktown Lions and Rotary Clubs for their donations to support the event.

Tree Conservation Commission members Dale Salzman and Keith Schepart were also recognized. Along with his activity on the tree commission, Schepart owns Taconic Tree Care Inc. and donated the company’s services to prune trees in the garden.

“And of course, none of this could be done without the tremendous effort and energy provided by Arbor Day committee member Ann Kutter,” Kellner said.

Refreshments—tree-shaped cookies and locally produced cider—were provided by the Yorktown Pastry Shop and Con Edison donated a sampling of small trees for people to take home and plant.

As a part of New York State’s Trees for Tribs program, Kellner announced that watershed forester Brendan Murphy, of the Watershed Agricultural Council, would be planting six native trees along the edge of the garden the following day.

The Trees for Tribs program was created in 2007 to reforest New York’s tributaries, or small creeks and streams, which flow into and feed larger rivers and lakes, according to the website for the Department of Environmental Conservation.

The goal of the program is to plant young trees and shrubs along stream corridors, to prevent erosion, increase flood water retention, improve wildlife and stream habitat, and protect water quality. According to the website, Trees for Tribs has engaged more than 7,600 volunteers in planting more than 66,000 trees and shrubs at 470 sites across New York State.

“These trees will improve the wetland that you see next to the garden, which is the source of water for the New Croton Reservoir,” Kellner said. “To further help this important wetland, we will remove invasive plants that are growing here.”

He invited anyone to participate and said equipment would be provided.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Catching up with Westchester County Executive George Latimer

George Latimer, our new county executive, has been in office now for a little over half a year. I thought it might be a good time to check in with my friend to see how things were going. You can see the interview in its entirety on Channel 74 (Optimum) at 9 p.m. Wednesday nights.

What happened last November?

The election last November brought change throughout Westchester County. In my ...

A (Burnt) Toast to Love and Marriage, on the Rocks

In its first few moments, sitcom-style comedy “Clever Little Lies” grabs audience attention right away, with one of the most revealing wardrobe changes you’ll ever see on stage. It is done modestly but just provocatively enough to elicit vocal appreciation from amused patrons.

The fast-paced play, starring Richard Kline of TV comedy classic “Three’s ...

Assemblyman Kevin Byrne Looks Back on 2018 Legislative Session

July 17, 2018

There’s an old saying, “Our liberty is never safe when the New York State Legislature is in session.” There’s definitely some truth to that. This past legislative session I successfully fought back against several initiatives that would have added to our state’s crushing tax burden, added excessive regulations on businesses that hurt job creation and chipped away at ...

The Adventures of Superdog

I was always very impressed that my dog could bark on command and come when I called his name, until I read in the newspaper about a dog that saved his owner’s life by calling 9-1-1. Apparently, when his owner had a seizure, the dog pushed a speed-dial button for 9-1-1, barked into the receiver for help, and then opened the door when the responders arrived.

Honestly, though, it’s ...

If You See Something, Say Something

July 11, 2018

I am writing this letter because I see something different with the new Yorktown Town Board. I see an open government instead of a dictatorship with rubber stamps. I see the new Town Board working together for the best interests of the residents in Yorktown.

The auditor suggests in his report to not start a capital project without having the money first. A bad example is the Granite Knolls ...

Upcoming Events

Sat, July 21, 12:00 PM

Club Fit, Jefferson Valley

Yoga for Women with Cancer

Health & Wellness

Wed, July 25, 7:30 PM

Carmel Cinema 8, Carmel

Film Screening on Suicide

Health & Wellness

Yorktown Residents Named Ambassadors of Support-a-Walk

July 12, 2018

Two Yorktown residents have been named Walk Ambassadors for the Annual Support-a-Walk organized by Support Connection, a non-profit organization that provides support and services to people battling breast or ovarian cancer. This year's walk will take place on Oct. 7 (rain or shine) at FDR State Park.

Mary Heagle, Mohegan Lake

Heagle’s experience with breast cancer began when her ...