December 15, 2018

Williston Birth Tree Project enters second year

Observer courtesy photo The Francke family poses with their new tree during last year’s Birth Tree Celebration. Williston residents who had or adopted a child between August 2014 and August of this year are eligible to participate in the 2015 Birth Tree Program.

Observer courtesy photo
The Francke family poses with their new tree during last year’s Birth Tree Celebration. Williston residents who had or adopted a child between August 2014 and August of this year are eligible to participate in the 2015 Birth Tree Program.

By Marie-Claude Beaudette

Special to the Observer

Sustainable Williston is launching the second edition of the Williston Birth Tree Project, giving a tree to Williston families with newborn or newly adopted children. Organizers hope that many families will participate in celebrating the new members of the Williston community. No matter where your family ends up, you will know that your child’s roots will forever be in Williston, growing stronger day by day.

Planting a tree contributes to a cleaner and healthier environment and offers future generations a better opportunity to grow in harmony with nature. By taking responsibility and caring for your tree, your family will be able to show an example of good stewardship and promote sustainability in our community.

Although Williston is the only town in Vermont with this initiative, the Birth Tree project’s inspiration comes from the Montreal suburb of Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville. In 1996, the town gave my family a tree to celebrate the birth of our son Louis. My two-year-old son Henri, small beach shovel in hand, proved instrumental in helping us plant the young birch. Two years later, our family sold the house and embarked on a journey that took us to four different states across the U.S. Every time we would return to Quebec, we would make a detour to Saint-Bruno just to see how much the tree had grown. Looking at this tree always reminds me of the passing of time and how connected we all are to the environment around us.

A few years ago, I decided to go to a Sustainable Williston meeting and share my story. The group was very receptive to the idea and together we worked on getting local businesses and organizations involved. This year, the program received support from the Town of Williston; Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation; Gardener’s Supply Company; Building Bright Futures; Dorothy Alling Library and Green Mountain Compost.

To participate in the 2015 edition of the Birth Tree Project, Williston residents who are parents of children born or adopted between August 2014 and August 2015 have until Aug. 21 to register. Registration forms are available at the library, or you can register online at the Sustainable Williston site. If you register online, you will see pictures of the trees or shrubs offered this year.

Families can choose from red twig dogwood, elderberry, red maple, serviceberry, northern white cedar, balsam fir, lilac or blueberry. Along with their tree or shrub, parents will receive a bag of compost donated by Green Mountain Compost.

Parents can meet other Williston families with new children, enjoy free refreshments and pick up their trees on the Celebration Day, set for Sunday, Sept. 27 from 1 to 3 p.m. at Gardener’s Supply. Starting at 1:30 p.m., music educator Ellie Tetrick will entertain with music and songs.

Babies born or adopted after the registration deadline will be eligible for the 2016 Birth Tree Project.

For more information about the Birth Tree Project and to see pictures from last year’s program, go to www.SustainableWilliston.com/BirthTrees.

Sustainable Williston works on issues like clean energy, water quality and planting trees and writes about a different sustainability topic for the Observer each month. Community members interested in any aspect of sustainability are invited to join our steering committee or to work on particular areas of interest with our task forces.
In addition to the Birth Tree Project, upcoming Sustainable Williston events include the Sustainable Energy Series, with a roundtable on sustainable transportation options at the Dorothy Alling Library on Aug. 24 and the second annual Sustainable Gardens Tour on Aug. 10.
Do you have a food-producing garden that uses resources carefully and relies mainly on natural and organic growing methods? Sustainable Williston would love to talk to you about including it on our garden tour. To get in touch, go to SustainableWilliston.org and select Contact from the menu.

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