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Bayfield seeks additional members to grow town’s ‘tree board’

Group helps inventory flora in public places, makes recommendations
The Pine River Library in Bayfield hosts 34 trees with about 20 different varieties, according to Bayfield Town Manager Katie Sickles. (Courtesy of Pine River Library)

The town of Bayfield is seeking members to serve on a board that will develop and present a plan for the future management of the town’s trees and shrubs.

The Town Board is seeking three to four more applicants to fill the so-called Bayfield Tree Board, which currently has four members.

Members of the board are appointed by the mayor and approved by the Planning Commission.

The Bayfield Tree Board will develop and present a written plan to the Bayfield Planning Commission for the care, preservation, trimming, planting and removal of trees and shrubs, according to Bayfield municipal code.

The board schedules annual Arbor Day events in town, hosts other events such as for Sick Tree Day and tree plantings, and takes inventory of public trees, which includes noting tree species, caliber and location.

The board is taking inventory of public trees across town, said Town Manager Katie Sickles. The Colorado Tree Coalition awarded $1,500 to the board for a tree inventory in 2021.

Sickles said the board has been in the municipal code for a couple years but had been on a hiatus until last year. After Sickles was hired as town manager, she asked the board of trustees if it wanted to revive the tree board or retire it completely, and trustees decided to revive it in June 2020.

“We just keep activities going, hoping to look for new members,” she said.

Applicants do not have to be residents of the town of Bayfield to be accepted onto the board, she said. If residents of the greater La Plata County area are interested in applying to be on the board, they are welcome to do so.

Applicants are encouraged to submit a letter of interest with a brief biography to Bayfield Mayor Ashleigh Tarkington, according to an announcement on Bayfield’s website.

Current Bayfield Tree Board members are Trustee Kelly Polites, who serves as the chairperson; Brandi Blaisdell; David McMillan; and Meredith McKinney.

Marian Tone is scheduled to be added to the board in February 2022.

Town staff members who participate in tree board events include Sickles, Parks and Recreation Director Becky Eisenbraun and Park Manager Mark Robinson.

The tree board is also looking for community volunteers to help with events, Sickles said.

“So that’s the direction we’re going,” she said.

She added that in other municipalities where she has worked, tree boards can “sometimes be the funnest activity and group that I have been involved with.”

A fourth grade Arbor Day poster submission for a contest hosted in April by the Bayfield Tree Board. (Courtesy town of Bayfield)

“We typically do a tree inventory of all the public trees in the town’s public spaces, but any private landowner can also participate,” she said.

Some interesting tree specimens in the Bayfield area include four Japanese lilac trees just west of town hall and a couple of Coulter pines in the Fox Farm Village community. A private property along South Mesa Avenue has a Maidenhair (Ginkgo), Sickles said.

And, the library in Bayfield has 34 trees with about 20 or so different varieties, according to the tree board’s inventory.

At the April 15 board meeting, members reviewed posters created by students at Bayfield Intermediate School (in addition to private and home school students). The posters were submitted for a contest held before Arbor Day.

Children provided posters for the contest that were also hung in town hall, Sickles said. She described the event as “a lot of fun.”

In each grade level, third to fifth, a first, second and third place poster was chosen, and the creating student received $100 cash, a $50 gift certificate and a $25 gift certificate, respectively.

Sickles said other or proposed tree board events and activities include:

  • Five to six meetings a year.
  • An annual Arbor Day event.
  • Intermediate school poster contests.
  • Regular tree inventory.
  • Fourth Grade Foresters.
  • Hazard tree identification and mitigation.
  • Sick Tree Day.
  • Tree plantings.
  • Block party booth.
  • More outdoor events.

cburney@durangoherald.com

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