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Energy & Environment

Rhinelander works to establish urban forestry fund

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Katie Thoresen
/
WXPR
The City of Rhinelander wants to establish an Urban Forestry Fund to plant and protect trees long term.

Over the last few years, the City of Rhinelander has had to take down a number of trees.

Some were in the way for road improvement projects. Others succumbed to disease.

City Forester Tom Jerow said Rhinelander hasn’t been keeping pace with replacing those trees.

“We want to make sure we get the right tree in the right place. Trees can’t go everywhere. You don’t want to put them under utility lines or where there’s important infrastructure. That all takes concerted effort to maintain the trees in the city,” he said.

While there’s a cost to plant the trees, there’s also a cost to maintaining them over their lifespan.

That’s where Jerow hopes the Rhinelander Urban Forestry Fund will come into play.

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City of Rhinelander
Central School Principal, Paul Johnson and City Forester, Tom Jerow accept a tree donation on Arbor Day from Rhinelander Women’s Club members Carolyn DeJongh, Chair Environment Community Service and Cindy Goll, President. A portion of the funds for this donation will be set aside for the long-term sustainability of Rhinelander’s Urban Forest. This tree will replace a beloved tree in the Central School yard which blew down in a recent windstorm.

“As we’re planting, we want to set aside funds for pruning, eventual removal, that kind of thing. If we had sort of a disease outbreak, we’d have funds available to have an immediate response and manage the forest in that way, a more sustainable way,” said Jerow.

Right now, the city is collecting money to establish the fund.

It needs to raise $10,000 before the city can open the fund with Community Foundation.

The money will go toward managing trees on public spaces within the city. That includes trees on boulevards, parks, schools, and green spaces.

“It shades our streets. It provides wildlife habitat. It stores carbon, cleans the air and water we breath. Trees are vital to a vibrant urban community,” said Jerow.

Jerow hopes to have the fund established by this time next year.

To contribute, you can deliver a check to City Hall. It needs to be made to the City of Rhinelander with “Tree Fund” on the memo line.

Jerow is asking for a minimum of $100. He’s hoping local businesses, groups, and individuals will contribute.

In the news release announcing the urban forestry fund goal, City Administrator Zach Vruwink and Mayor Kris Hanus each pledged $500.

For more information, you can contact Jerow at 715-401-1578 or tjerow@gmail.com.

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