LITCHFIELD — The Friends of Topsmead State Forest has created a Tree Renewal Fund in conjunction with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

The Friends of Topsmead State Forest is a nonprofit organization that provides programs for the public and local school students interested in learning about and preserving the ecology of the park, and enhances visitors’ experience at Topsmead State Forest, property that was bequeathed by the late Edith Morton Chase in 1972 to the state, to be preserved as a state forest.

The Tree Renewal Fund offers a unique opportunity to support DEEP in honoring the wishes of Miss Chase’s expressed desire that her beloved property called Topsmead be maintained in the excellent condition in which she left it.

The partnership with DEEP at Topsmead is critical to the success of this effort. Over the past several years, numerous trees were lost at Topsmead due to age, disease, and severe weather. DEEP has limited resources for replacing them, but state policy does not allow DEEP to accept funds directly for trees. Consequently, under the Friends Tree Renewal Fund program, FTSF welcomes donations, with which they will purchase a tree or trees and “gift” them to Topsmead. DEEP will take responsibility for the trees, ensuring they are properly planted and maintained.

Members and supporters of the Friends of Topsmead State Forest can help replace trees at Topsmead that are lost due to age, disease, or severe weather. FTSF will aggregate donated funds in order to make purchases, and funds may be carried over from one year to the next in order to maximize value in terms of trees that can be purchased. DEEP will determine what trees are needed and when they should be purchased, will select the tree species and size and will plant trees. FTSF cannot fulfill requests for specific types of trees.

Jared Rice, park rec. supervisor, said the new trees will be 2.5 inches in diameter and approximately breast height. He said 200 trees have already been removed out of necessity.

“In general, we will replace apple trees with new apple younglings, maples with maples, etc. They must be native trees with sufficient hardiness to survive New England winters,” Rice said.

For more details about the Tree Donation Fund, please contact Carol Gould at caysfgould@gmail.com or text 860-485-4147. Information about donating to the fund can be found at www.friendsoftopsmead.org/tree-renewal.html.

Connecticut Media Group