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


Cuomo’s Frivolous Lawsuits Cost Us Money

Since Donald Trump became president, New York State has filed more than 100 lawsuits against the federal government. This includes those filed by both Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and Gov. Andrew Cuomo. It does not include lawsuits filed by the City of New York. Most of them are political in nature, filed to please the plaintiffs’ voting base. In the real world, if we had filed ...

Live and Learn

When I was a senior at Fordham University (1970), the school initiated an experimental program allowing a small number of seniors to teach a professor-assisted accredited pass/fail course. I applied and to my amazement was one of three students selected. The course I taught was titled Philosophy of Education.

The underlying theory of my course was that every educational system has an ...

A Trip to the 'Liberry'

Raise your hand if you didn’t—did not—call the library the “liberry” when you were little. I’m guessing not a lot of hands just went up.

Didn’t just about all of us say “liberry” when we were learning to read? (Well, whaddya expect when a place is named something way too easy for little kids to mispronounce?)

OK. Now, raise your hand if ...

I'm Mrs. Heat Miser

To be perfectly honest, I did not need a large rodent with insomnia to convince me that we had six more weeks of winter. It’s been so cold outside lately that when I go out, my nostrils stick together. The dog is so hesitant to go out that he does his business right on the deck, less than five feet from the door, and then gives me a look of contemptuous indignation when he comes back in the ...

Should Valentine's Day Be Celebrated at School?

Dear Dr. Linda,

I’ve been a third-grade teacher for over 20 years and have never allowed my students to celebrate Valentine’s Day in my class. I know my colleagues think I’m mean, but I’m refusing to celebrate it for many reasons.

1) Children hand out cards to each other and there’s always some child left out or who gets very few; 2) Children are always asked ...

What Next for Sober Houses?

February 7, 2018

To the editor,

As Yogi Berra famously said: “It’s déjà vu all over again.”

As reported in the Jan. 25 edition of Yorktown News, 482 Underhill Ave. is back in the sober house business, this time operating as a “family,” not a convalescent, home. And because it’s operating as a family home, there are no town regulations, standards, guidelines ...

Upcoming Events

Thu, February 22, 7:00 PM

NY Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital, Cortlandt Manor

Book Club for Women with Cancer

Health & Wellness

Sat, February 24, 10:00 AM

Jefferson Valley Mall , Yorktown Heights

Yorktown Indoor Farmers Market

Food & Drink Health & Wellness

Sat, February 24, 12:00 PM

Club Fit, Jefferson Valley

Yoga for Women with Cancer

Health & Wellness

First Presbyterian Church of Yorktown Receives GreenFaith Certification

February 16, 2018

The First Presbyterian Church of Yorktown has completed the requirements for GreenFaith certification ( GreenFaith is an organization which helps religious communities grow in environmental leadership. GreenFaith certification was a two year process that required a number of accomplishments in the areas of stewardship, education, worship, environmental justice advocacy, and ...