This Arbor Day on April 24 was the first for the Town of Rochester as a Tree City USA, designated by the Arbor Day Foundation. The Town marked the occasion that morning with a tree planting at Church’s Field hosted by Town Administrator Michael McCue, who planned the event and took the steps required to make Rochester a Tree City USA.
“I actually have quite an affinity for trees and plants,” said McCue, calling himself an amateur gardener. “I really wanted the Town of Rochester to receive the designation of a Tree City USA.”
McCue, who moved from his town administrator position in the Town of Avon to Rochester, said he was surprised to find that Rochester was not yet a Tree City USA, given its natural resources. The designation, he said, would certainly be appropriate for Rochester.
“And that’s why we’re here,” said McCue to the roughly 25 people in attendance that chilly, breezy mid-morning. “Celebrating with the planting of a new tree at Church’s Field.”
McCue stood beside the young American Beech tree planted toward the rear of the field and read the official Arbor Day Proclamation the Board of Selectmen had already signed.
Maria Conners, a representative from Senator Michael Rodrigues’ office, presented the Town with an official citation from the Senate, signed by Massachusetts Senate President Stanley Rosenberg.
“Congratulations to all of you,” Conners said. “It is a great day.”
Representative William Straus also sent the Town a citation, which McCue read. Community Action Forester Molly Freilicher of the Department of Conservation and Recreation was present and offered the guests baby sugar maple trees to plant at home.
“I hope that this will make a first of such events,” McCue said.
The natural beauty of Rochester, said McCue, is one of the characteristics of Rochester that drew him from his position as the town administrator for the Town of Avon.
“And to some small degree, I hope I may be able to enhance it,” said McCue.
McCue has long been in contact with representatives of The United Nations’ “Green Legacy Hiroshima Initiative,” and has secured several saplings from a Ginko biloba tree that survived the Hiroshima bombing. McCue said the Town of Rochester will receive at least two of those saplings, and he hopes to hold a ceremony in the fall when the two trees will be planted at a site near Town Hall.
“I’m very confident, I’m very hopeful,” McCue said of the future planting of the Ginkos in Rochester. “And I look forward to this.”
By Jean Perry