Selected Highlights: 2018
2018 marks Abington Township's 12th year as a Tree City USA
Tree City USA recognizes municipalities with an active tree board (STC), an ordinance that protects and promotes trees, a tree budget of at least $2 per capita and an Arbor Day celebration. Each December, members of the STC, EAC and staff create an annual snapshot of how and where we directed resources for care of trees, and draft an annual work plan for the coming year. In 2018, our tree spend was $540,000, or about $10 per capita.The single largest expenditure was leaf composting at $280,000. Other significant categories were tree planting, maintenance and removal; and invasive plant management. Volunteers contributed over 1100 hours.
Tree PreservationIn partnership with consulting municipal arborists and members of the Township staff, we drafted a comprehensive revision to the Landscaping chapter of the Zoning Ordinance, to incorporate practical means for tree protection and replacement. The proposed draft is to be reviewed as part of the Township SALDO revision process. Funding for this project was made possible by the 2018 PA TreeVitalize Community Forestry Grant Program. For this work, we received a Tree Pennsylvania Award by the PA Urban and Community Forestry Council.
Tree Planting: 2018 tree planting sites included parks (Ardsley WS, Deal, Dougherty, and Rockwell), and community service properties (Ardsley Cemetery and St. Anne’s Church). Special thanks go to Inframark - Water & Infrastructure Services for funding and planting at Rockwell Park. This brings us up to a total of 725 trees planted within the past 5 years on 19 public properties and approximately 80 residential properties. We continue to monitor these trees, and intend to publish a tree walk brochure that highlights them. 2019 planting sites identified to date are Dougherty Park, Hallowell Park and Ardsley Wildlife Sanctuary. We encourage residents to suggest additional sites.
Forest Restoration: Our primary focus continued to be Ardsley Wildlife Sanctuary, overlaid by 2 active projects- Edgehill-Tyson reconstruction, and forest restoration and access at the Maple Avenue entrance. The former entails conveying stormwater through the sanctuary in a manner that preserves mature canopy. The latter entails creation of an accessible path into the woodlands, supported by state funding. Each will entail significant post-construction planting of native trees and understory, to take place in 2019.
Tree City USA certification is our gateway to state and private support and funding for trees. Leveraging the Township STC budget of $6,000, in 2018 we enjoyed technical, financial and volunteer support from the Pennsylvania Department of Natural Resources, Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, Penn State Extension, the Pennsylvania Association of Forest Stewards, the International Society of Arboriculture, One Tree Planted, Inframark LLC, and private donors. We were awarded and successfully completed the 2018 Tree Vitalize Forestry Management Grant that supported ordinance development. We are on track to complete the 2017 DCNR C2P2 grant for restoration of Ardsley Wildlife Sanctuary in 2019. We applied for the 2019 Treevitalize Watershed for restoration of the riparian area of Hallowell Park, in partnership with SPS Technologies.
In 2018 we began a more active participation in the review process for land development applications and other matters involving trees, in partnership with the staff of Engineering and Code Enforcement. Additionally, the appointment of a Parks and Recreation staff liaison to the STC has streamlined and leveraged our work.