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Street Tree Advisory Board

Tree Watertown

 Tree Watertown, a volunteer group of community citizens serves as the Street Tree Advisory Board to the City of Watertown.  Tree Watertown advises the City on policy issues, makes recommendations regarding grant applications and works with the City Planning Office in the development of the City’s annual tree planting program.  In addition, Tree Watertown serves the community through the development and presentation of educational initiatives and tree planting projects throughout the year. 

Our Mission

Tree Watertown’s mission is to educate the community of Watertown in understanding trees as less of a threat to property and safety and more of a long-term benefit through Education, Planting and Maintenance; and to serve as a resource to the community by providing the professional skills needed by other groups interested in re-TREE-ing Watertown.

Tree Planting

A Brief History of the Urban Forest in the City and the Formation of Tree Watertown

At the turn of the 20th century, Watertown was a growing community, not only concerned about industrial development, but also actively promoting social betterment. This was seen most obviously in the 'City Beautiful' Movement. The results of Watertown's role in the movement can be seen today in the large trees on every street and avenue, the design and landscaping of Thompson Park, and the development of numerous landscaped street islands throughout the City. Additionally, property owners were encouraged to beautify their parcel with a variety of landscape plantings.

Pictorial histories reveal that Watertown of yesteryear is not only remembered for its imposing historical buildings but also for is rich greenery which created a cathedral of trees along streets. Unfortunately, this natural beauty, which surrounded our community, is rapidly becoming a host of memories. There was the disastrous Dutch elm disease, leading to the loss of hundreds of trademark elms in the City.

More recently, Watertown has been plagued by record setting weather phenomena during the 1990’s. This has weakened, severely damaged, or destroyed many of our turn-of-the-century trees. The Ice Storm of 1998, the Microburst Storm of 1995 and the Ice Storm of 1991 have contributed to the loss of a significant proportion of our street tree population. Additionally, maple decline, road construction projects, and utility trimming have also led to the decline of tree coverage throughout the City.

Although our community has weathered these natural forces, our street trees have not fared as well. Tree Watertown was formed to bring tree life back to our streets and neighborhoods.  Tree Watertown began under the direction of former Mayor and City Manager Tom Walker in September of 1995.

Tree Watertown has initiated annual tree planting projects and educational programs to increase the understanding of trees as an asset to the community.  In the spring, Tree Watertown hosts the City’s annual Arbor Day Celebration.  In the fall, Tree Watertown conducts an annual fall tree planting project on the grounds of one of the Watertown City School District’s buildings.  The fall tree planting project has become one of Tree Watertown’s signature events.  The project brings together the Watertown City School District who purchases the trees, the City’s Department of Public Works who pre-digs the tree planting holes and volunteers from Tree Watertown.  The fall planting supplements other spring tree planting efforts in the City.  In addition, Tree Watertown periodically hosts educational workshops, seminars and other events.  Through a cooperative effort with local governments, organizations and individuals, Tree Watertown intends to make the City of Watertown one of the most distinctive small cities in America once again.

Planting trees in Watertown NY

Tree Watertown Members

Bill Christopherson, Chairman
Watertown, NY

Jennifer Voss, Vice Chair
Watertown, NY   

Mike Lumbis, Treasurer
Watertown, NY

Joshua Carlsson, Secretary
Watertown, NY

Samuel Thomas, Past Chairman
Watertown, NY

T. Urling Walker, Former Mayor
Watertown, NY

Glen Roberts
Lowville, NY

David Buszak
Watertown, NY

Mike DeMarco
Syracuse, NY

Kelly Reinhardt
Sackets Harbor, NY

Sue Gwise
Dexter, NY

Jack Parsell
Watertown, NY

Dr. Jason White
Watertown, NY