After this weekend, it will be 29,963 down and 37 to go for Re-Tree.
Re-Tree, a program of Buffalo Green Fund, has had the goal of replacing 30,000 of the trees damaged by the surprise Oct. 12-13, 2006, snowstorm.
This weekend, the group will plant 106 trees throughout the city, adding to its current total of 29,857 trees planted in the 12 years since the 2006 storm that claimed thousands of trees from Western New York.
Paul D. Maurer, founder and chairman of Re-Tree, said there are plans to have a major celebration to mark the goal of 30,000 trees in April of 2019.
"We want to make a permanent marker of thanks to all who have donated and pitched in," he said, "which is in the hundreds, even thousands of folks."
Each tree planted by volunteers has been matched by municipalities, Maurer said, so that the nearly 60,000 trees lost in the storm’s wake will be replaced when the group's goal is reached.
"While we are happy that the whole project is, at last, nearing completion, the feeling amongst our group is that there is so much reforesting that needs to be done," Maurer said. "We don't plan to end it there. There are so many challenges that we face when it comes to trees, we don't see us ever laying down our shovels."
Among the continuing challenges include the invasion of the Emerald Ash Borer, an Asian beetle that kills North American ash species, and recent hot, arid summers that pose a significant challenge when juvenile trees are planted.
Maurer said another major reason that his group's work will continue is the care that all the 30,000 trees need to survive and properly thrive.
"Even though we are planting a tree in the public right-of-way, between the sidewalk and the street, we ask that the homeowner or business water their trees once they leaf out in the spring and continuously through to dormancy, around October," said Maurer said. "We can't stress this enough."
Maurer said it's been "a dream of ours" to set up regular watering of the newly planted trees, "so we have a better survival rate for the trees our dedicated volunteers plant," but Re-Tree is still in need of a sponsor to fund the program.
Re-Tree has recently started a new initiative in cooperation with Cornell Cooperative Extension and the City of Buffalo called the CommuniTree Steward Project. Through the project, people are trained to care for Re-Tree's trees with a six-week course held at Delaware Park each spring.
A dozen City of Buffalo organizations will be pitching in this weekend to add trees to streets and parks in several Buffalo neighborhoods:
• Reforesting is being done on Ketchum, York and Jersey streets in the area near Kleinhans Music Hall.
• In the Allentown section of the city, new foliage will be planted on College, North, Days Park, Hudson, Arlington Park, Symphony Circle, Virginia, Edward and Pennsylvania.
• In the First Ward/Valley area, Hamburg Street will get 13 new trees.
• Paderewski Drive leading up to the Central Terminal will be adding six new trees.
• The largest planting will be in the University District, where “Re-Tree the District – The University Heights Collaborative” will plant 25 trees on Godfrey, Martha, Roosevelt and other streets.
Eight different varieties of species will be planted: swamp white oak, two types of crabapple, honey locust, hackberry, lilac, planetree and sweetgum.
Trees will be distributed to the organizations by Re-Tree from 2 to 6 p.m. Friday at the Buffalo Engineering Garage, 1120 Seneca St.
Information about making tax-deductible donations or signing up for the CommuniTree Steward Project is available at www.re-treewny.org.