By Joanne Bailey-Boorsma
Greg Bryan and his wife, Beverly, watched as the City of Wyoming was forced to remove the city trees. First it was due to the Dutch Elm Disease which wiped out about 75 percent of North American’s elm trees by 1989.
Then in early 200s, it was the Emerald Ash Borer, an insect that is lethal to ash trees, with the City of Wyoming becoming part of a countywide Emerald Ash Borer Quarantine.
“They cutdown more than a 1,000 trees,” Bryan said. “My wife turned to me and said ‘We have to do something.’”
Bryan did. He helped establish the Wyoming Tree Commission and this week, in memory of his wife who passed way in the spring, he donated $10,000 to the commission to help get its fundraising efforts moving forward.
“We are in the process of raising funds,” Bryan said. “For many of the grants we are seeking, you need to have matching funds. I am hoping this will help in the group’s fundraising efforts.”
Just a year-old, the Wyoming Tree Commission’s focus has been centered on planting trees. It recently helped the city be named as a Tree City USA, a national movement formed in 1976 to provide the framework necessary for communities to manage and expand their public trees.
With that honor, the commission, named nicknamed the Tree Amigos, has been focusing on projects within the city including a collaboration with Wyoming Public Schools in developing a small orchard at West Elementary School.
Tree Commission Chairperson Stella Slootmaker, who also helped establish the Tree Commission, said during the commission’s recent meeting, that the group is working to raise funds by looking at various grant opportunities through the Department of Natural Resources and the USDA Farm to School Grant.
The Tree Commission also has sponsorships available at various levels, the Service Berry level, $100 – $499; the Silver Maple level, $500 – $999; and the Mighty Oak level, $1,000 or more. For more information about the Wyoming Tree Commission, email firstname.lastname@example.org.