Carol Russell named 2016 tree steward

Kendra Baker photos
Carol Russell was named Wilton’s 2016 tree steward and a red oak tree was planted in her honor during an Arbor Day ceremony in Wilton Center on Friday, April 29.

Russell was joined by her husband Bob Russell, Tree Committee Chair Kate Throckmorton, Environmental Affairs Director Mike Conklin, Tree Committee member Barbara Quincy, Wilton Tree Warden Paul Young, and First Selectman Lynne Vanderslice, who read an Arbor Day proclamation.

Russell was selected to be year's tree steward because of her "commitment to trees and the environment," said Throckmorton.

When the Russells bought their Hemmelskamp Road home in the late-1960s, Throckmorton said, “Carol told me they really bought the property for the yard and the neighborhood that was filled with beautiful trees.”

“Just like those trees," said Throckmorton, "Carol set deep roots and quickly became deeply involved in civic life throughout town.”

Throckmorton said Russell's Arbor Day recognition is “an outgrowth of her multi-year service” on Wilton’s Planning and Zoning and Conservation Commissions, during which she “took on several specific tree projects to help expand public knowledge and appreciation of trees.”

One project involved labeling around 50 tree species in Bradley Park, allowing people to learn about the many tree species that grace the park.

“Another task Carol took was the co-authoring of one of the first drafts of a tree ordinance in the 1990s,” said Throckmorton, which “began a wider discussion on the value, oversight and protection of private and public trees in town.”

As a mentor for environmental and civil service and a “constant and willing supporter to the protection and stewardship of our community trees, Throckmorton said, “there is no doubt” that Russell deserves to be this year’s tree steward.

Tree City

Wilton and 16 other Connecticut municipalities received Tree City USA designation for their “exemplary tree care and maintenance program” by the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP) on Friday, April 29.

In order to receive Tree City USA status, each community must:

  • Invest $2 per capita in trees.

  • Have a tree advisory board or professional staff.

  • Have a local ordinance in support of trees.

  • Celebrate Arbor Day each year.

According to Wilton’s tree committee, Wilton has been designated a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation and state of Connecticut since 2009.

State Forester Chris Martin said the Tree City USA honor is “a testament to real leadership on the part of our communities.”

“Trees are so important to making a community a healthy, inviting and sustainable place to live,” said Martin. “As these communities have learned, trees and tree events pull people together and are good for everyone.”

Click here to learn more about the Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree City USA program.