The Bath Community Forestry Committee presented its annual residential and business landscape awards to 51 High Street and the United Methodist Church at 340 Oak Grove Avenue on May 21 during Arbor Week.
In 1864, 51 High St. served as the Free Will Baptist Church for almost 100 years. Under the guidance of the owner, Catherine Skove, the building was renovated beginning in 1998. The landscaping was a mass of scrub trees, invasive vines and a prickly tangle of shrubs. Majestic pines, birch, and other newly planted deciduous trees now serve as a backdrop for the restored building. “Reconstruction of the building and the grounds were a labor of love and historical perfection for Catherine,” said Elizabeth Haskell, chairman of the Bath Community Forestry Committee. The Greek Revival building, now known as Winnegance Ledge, was recently on the Sagadahoc Preservation house tour.
In the words of Reverend Neil Gastonguay of the United Methodist Church, "Our goal for landscaping and forest work is to offer Bath people a place to find comfort and peace. We encourage people to use our campus for walking, relaxing, and playing." The grounds of the church are used daily by walkers out to exercise their pets and families using the playground. "Rev. Gastonguay told me that the Church welcomes all people to the prayer garden and the forest meditation path.” The Church members have done a beautiful job planting trees that will eventually grow large and contribute to the urban forest adjacent to Oak Grove Cemetery," said Ms. Haskell
“Bath residents are welcome to make suggestions for the BCFC landscape awards, but the properties must meet the criteria of having trees which contribute to the urban forest setting of Bath and all final decisions will be made by the Committee. Committee members and the City Arborist, Kyle Rosenberg, encourage individuals who have an interest in planting and growing New England forest species to contact us for advice and direction,” said Ms. Haskell.
Also, during Arbor Week, the Committee successfully gave away 60 evergreen trees at Druid Park and worked with area school students led by Morse High School teacher, Johnna Stanton who won the outstanding teacher award for Sagadahoc County this year. Former BCFC member, Geraldine Coombs, joined Committee members to help coordinate and instruct the Morse High School students with Druid Park chores and weeding. “It’s always so helpful when the students lend a hand,” she said.
From root beer floats served by Now You’re Cooking to yummy refreshments served by The Kennebec Company to educational activities for Morse H.S. sophomores to the annual landscape awards, fun REALLY was had by all at the Arbor Week festivities last month in Bath.
In 2014 the BCFC will launch a city-wide campaign to develop awareness about the impending changes in the urban forest and the impact of those changes specific to Bath. With the help of BCTV, Facebook, the Bath City website, and other social media, information from professional forest service organizations will provide important details in the world of forestry and woodland pests. Community involvement will be the key to maintaining a healthy tree community. The Kennebec Company will be collaborating with the BCFC on a project that will replace diseased ash trees that must be removed from the environment. “The Kennebec Company uses trees to make our hand-crafted cabinets. We want to replace the trees that we use while also ensuring that Bath, our Company’s hometown, has healthy and vibrant trees downtown and in public spaces throughout the city,” said Ken Strainic of The Kennebec Company. Two trees planted at the Arbor Week event will be the first trees planted by The Kennebec Company in honor of their customers Drs. Matthew and Amina Hanna and Mr. & Mrs. Brad Matson, both of Bath. This will be an ongoing activity between The Kennebec Company and the BCFC to produce “carbon-neutral cabinets”.
Landscape awards this year went to Bill and Mary Gannon of Burger King for their vibrant use of trees and shrubs at the Leeman Highway location. Mr. & Mrs. Gannon take great pride in the landscaping of all their Burger King facilities. Carolyn Lockwood received the residential award for her tremendous effort of landscaping an extremely difficult piece of property behind her home on High St. which actually faces Raymond Ct.
Tom Hoerth collected the City of Bath’s distinguished Tree City USA award in Farmington on May 20th. The Maine Forest Service currently recognizes Bath as a premier example of a community that has a sound forestry program with a dedicated arborist and creative volunteers. “According to the Maine Forest Service, the BCFC is one of the oldest volunteer groups in the State to hallmark urban forestry. “We hope to expand our educational process in 2014 to do what is right for Bath’s urban forests,” said Elizabeth Haskell, BCFC chairman.
William and Mary Gannon receive the Bath Community Forestry Committee’s 2014 Business Landscape Award from Elizabeth Haskell for their Burger King Restaurant on Leeman Highway. The Gannon’s expressed great delight in keeping all of their BK facilities well landscaped.
Elizabeth Haskell and Tom Barrington of the BCFC award Carolyn Lockwood the 2014 Residential Landscape Award at her home on High Street during Arbor Week activities.
Left: Morse H.S. students assist Tom Hoerth, City Arborist, in potting young seedlings from Central Maine Power.