We hope you will consider getting involved in our all-volunteer organization. We have several on-going projects. Please feel free to contact us:
Twenty Six Years and Growing
About the time Cobble Hill became a historic district, resident George Polimeros began a tree-planting campaign. According to Tom Synnott, current Chair of the Cobble Hill Tree Fund, George had a way of being insistent. “He arrived and informed us that we would of course be planting a tree in front of our house.” Dick Van Bolt, current Treasurer, remembers him this way: “He was Mr. Tree. He never lost an opportunity to see another tree planted. If it had to do with trees and Cobble Hill, it had to do with George.”
After George’s death in the mid 1970s, a like-minded group began to form in the community to offset the loss. Formalized by the Cobble Hill Association in a 501C3 charitable trust, this group laid the foundation for the greening of Cobble Hill.
Since its creation in 1981, the Cobble Hill Tree Fund has been responsible for planting more than 200 trees. It has raised tens of thousands of dollars for planting and maintenance. Thanks in part to its work, the compact twenty-square-block area of Cobble Hill now has on average thirty trees per block.
Over the years, it has became clear that Cobble Hill Tree Fund’s fund-raising and planting work would need to be augmented by other activities. Many of its members have become Citizen Pruners, licensed city volunteers who maintain street and park trees. Beautification projects have included extensive anti-graffiti plantings in front of 250 Baltic Street.
In the past two years, in addition to planting trees, Cobble Hill Tree Fund members have built tree pit surrounds; helped fund and staff the Neighborhood Tree Chipping event in Cobble Hill Park (to recycle Christmas tree mulch for street tree pits and two local community gardens); and have begun to work with the Court Street Beautification Committee. Today, the Fund sponsors Street Tree Talks to focus attention on local tree maintenance issues.
New challenges face Cobble Hill’s “urban forest,” and the Cobble Hill Tree Fund has begun to discuss ways of addressing them. As Cobble Hill’s tree stock ages, it will underscore the importance of long term planning for replacement. The mortality rate of newly planted trees citywide continues to challenge groups like the Cobble Hill Tree Fund to improve methods of providing maintenance. Finally, a growing body of evidence suggests that there are substantial, measurable environmental and economic benefits to planting street trees. The Cobble Hill Tree Fund hopes to broaden the appreciation of these benefits, though outreach and education.
We invite all interested citizens to join us. — Bill Epes [written in 2006]
For over 35 years, Dick Van Bolt helped organize the annual Tree Planting by the Cobble Hill Tree Fund. These several hundred trees—our community's urban forest—are Dick's legacy to us.
The Tree Fund received a commendation from the Parks Dept. in 2004 for it’s many years of supporting the annual Holiday Tree-chipping.