Buffalo surprise snowstorm responders seek to finish 30,000-tree task

It’s been almost eight years since the snap of tree limbs and the crackle of power lines, but the charity that mobilized to reforest the area is asking one more time for money to finish the task.

Several philanthropic companies and a former newspaper publisher are stepping-up to help Re-Tree reach its goal of 30,000 trees planted with their army of volunteers.

The Buffalo News has launched a campaign that will run through mid-October, asking for a $50 donation to Re-Tree which will be equally matched to buy a tree to be planted along the streets or in the parks of Buffalo that received damage via the surprise snowstorm of October 12, 2006.

The News will be publishing the names of all of the donors at the conclusion of the campaign, as it has done for three previous fundraisers for Re-Tree.

The match is being provided by Buffalo News Publisher Emeritus Stanford Lipsey, National Grid, and the Buffalo Green Fund Inc. Re-Tree needs to buy 3,435 trees to complete the re-planting, started in April, 2007.

“We hope this is the last time we need to appeal for funding,” stated Paul D. Maurer, Co-Founder and Chairman of Re-Tree, “we hope that soon the entire area will be greened up to pre-storm levels thanks to this final campaign!”

Re-Tree has planted 26,565 street and park trees since it started nearly eight years ago, getting the funds through individual donations, corporations, and foundations.

Its first donor was Stanford Lipsey, who was the Buffalo News publisher when the campaign began in 2006. “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!”

Another initial donor is National Grid. 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 is donating 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 have 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!”

All donated funds are tax-deductible. Memorials are encouraged. All names will be published in the Buffalo News and online at www.re-treewny.org.

Donations can be sent to:

Re-Tree

PO Box 282

Buffalo, NY 14202-0282

Make checks payable to Green Fund, Inc./Re-Tree Buffalo