Pelham sustainability board seeks volunteers to site locations for new trees


The Pelham Sustainability Advisory Board (SAB) is looking for volunteers to find potential locations for planting new trees.

In September, the Village of Pelham and the Pelham Preservation and Garden Society (PPGS) will be planting native trees around Pelham.

“Our canopy has diminished seriously because so many of our large trees are at the end of their lives,” said Aimee Linn, a member of the garden society. “Now, it’s time to redo and replant.”

According to an email from the SAB, the trees will be funded by the 2020 New York Power Authority Fall Tree Planting Program, from the Thomas Fenlon Memorial Street Tree Fund, the garden society and other private sources.

Planting trees on public property has been done before in Pelham Manor as well as the Village of Pelham, said Linn. But last year the PPGS worked to plant trees on private property. That was new. Any citizen can request a tree. The planned planting in the fall was supposed to take place in the spring but was moved to September because of the pandemic.

Finding locations for trees can count as community service for students in middle and high school. In order for it to count, the student volunteer must check off the last box on this Google spreadsheet. Students can also take part in supervising and caring for the trees once they are planted.

“The physiological benefits are huge in planting trees,” said Linn. “From my perspective, when you go on a sheltered street with lots of trees, you feel cooler and you feel that the world is not melting so fast.”

Sign up here to become a volunteer. Volunteers will be able to survey locations for the trees using Google Maps. This can be done either remotely or in person. Helpers can start anywhere, including their own block. But check the Google spreadsheet to see if your block has already been surveyed.

According to an SAB email, there are some guidelines that need to be used for tree spacing:

  • 5 feet by 10 feet planting space between the curb and sidewalk
  • Opposite side of the street as power lines
  • 30 feet from the center of another (hardwood) tree
  • 20 feet to any street corner
  • 10 feet from any building
  • 10 feet from a hydrant
  • 5 feet from any other utility lines, including oil fill pipes and water valves

“I am really excited to partner with the SAB,” said Linn, “that the Pelham Preservation and Garden Society will be able to work with them and use what we’ve already learned. I also think that planting shade trees and planting street trees is perhaps the most important thing to preserving green space in Pelham. Look next door, to New Rochelle and Mount Vernon. Those are a little more urban. That shows Pelham’s uniqueness in our green canopy, and we have to preserve it.

According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, studies show trees improve water and air quality as well as the lives of humans and wildlife around the trees. Trees can aid in relieving stress and depression.