Oct 21 021

Re-Tree, a program of the Buffalo Green Fund, recently wrapped up a fundraiser to finish off the goal of 30,000 trees planted by volunteers as a result of the October 2006 snowstorm.

The Buffalo News, National Grid, the Oishei Foundation, the Buffalo Green Fund and publisher emeritus Stanford Lipsey provided funds to kick start the campaign which encouraged its readers to donate $50, which would be equally matched by the fund, to buy a tree to be planted along the streets or in the parks of Buffalo that received damage via the snowstorm.

The News published the names of all of the donors in a full page ad on November 15, totaling over 500 individuals, corporations and foundations who, combined, raised well over $200,000.

Re-Tree’s first donor, back in 2007 was Stanford Lipsey.  “Stan was quick to step-up and give us our financial start when we approached him years ago. Without him, I don’t think our area would be anywhere near as re-treed as it is now,” said Maurer. “Now, he is there for us once again, and his paper is still sticking with us till the final tree is planted in Buffalo!”

And so was National Grid.  Immediately after the storm, they activated an enormous response to the storm-challenged, getting power restored to hundreds of thousands of homes, against daunting odds. Their recovery plan for the devastated area didn’t stop at power lines, poles, and transformers, they donated $175,000 to Re-Tree as well. “Our crews witnessed first-hand the devastation to the area’s tree canopy, so we were motivated to help our area to fund the tree planting that Re-Tree had begun,” said Dennis Elsenbeck, Area Manager for National Grid. “We are now here to help them finish the great job that they started, by giving money to match what individuals donate to the News campaign.”  For this final push, National Grid donated another $20,000 as part of the Re-Tree match effort, and has committed to as much as $20,000 more over two years as part of its own long-standing “10,000 Trees and Growing” program. That program offers municipalities the opportunity to received $50 per tree that meets program guidelines regarding trees planted in and around overhead electric wires. Interested municipalities need to apply directly to National Grid for this program.

The Buffalo Green Fund, Inc. was involved in the area’s arboriculture way before the storm of ’06, and they also offered to be a matching donor. “Our whole purpose for many, many years has been to be stewards of the great tree heritage that is quite unique to Buffalo,” stated Cindy Sterner Kincaide, the Chairman of the Buffalo Green Fund, Inc. “We cherish what few cities in the world can boast about, but Buffalo can, that we have lovely streets with a lush canopy of green…this donation to Re-Tree helps to bring this back for all to enjoy!”

“Even though it’s eight years after the storm, we find that people love to plant trees. It’s leaving a legacy. It’s a good feeling. There are a lot of benefits that trees provide and people enjoy the fact that aesthetically it adds quite a bit to the neighborhood,” said Paul Maurer, Re-Tree chairman.  Maurer predicts that the remaining trees will be replaced by the storm’s 10th anniversary in 2016.

The Green Fund will be establishing a tree stewardship program in the spring of 2015.