This past April, Gayle Ficken-Clarke and Bobbi Strangfeld, both long-time residents of Wyoming, received an award and a $10,000 grant from the National Make a Difference Foundation as one of ten volunteer projects judged as exceptionally worthy by the foundation.
Gayle and Bobbi’s team, a subcommittee of Taking Root (a regional reforestation campaign) coordinated 400 volunteers comprising 32 different teams in 5 counties across Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio to purchase and plant 1,100 trees on October 24th 2015.
Bobbi is a current member of Wyoming’s Urban Forestry and Beautification Commission and Great Parks Foundation, and Gayle is a past member of the Wyoming Forestry Commission as well as a graduate of ODNR’s Tree Commission Academy.
Bobbi and Gayle were asked to share some of their history and enthusiasm for our Urban Forest.
What experiences have you had that have caused you to become so passionate about our tree canopy?
Bobbi: As a young child, I had the good fortune to visit a Redwood forest in California. That experience started my love for trees. As I grew I played in the woods, I slowly started to learn about the characteristics of trees, my tree education has lead me to become a Master Gardener, be involved in Urban Forestry Beautify Wyoming Commission, a member of the Great Parks of Hamilton County, and to the Taking Root Campaign and The Make a Difference Day Tree Planting Event. Trees have been Very good to me and I am returning the favor.
Gayle: In 1994, I was looking for a way to serve my 50 hours of volunteer time to finish my Master Gardener training. Volunteering for the Wyoming Urban Forestry Board changed my outlook on trees completely. Over the years, various training opportunities and especially ODNR’s Tree Commission Academy, educated me to look at trees as vital to my community and to myself. While I had always been aware of trees, my time on the Urban Forestry Board taught me to appreciate them deeply.
If you could put together a wish list for our Urban Forest, what are your top three wishes for the future?
Bobbi: We, as people learn to value and respect trees. We need to understand that reforestation is an on going process that needs to be a part of our daily lives—–not a special event. We need to stop taking the benefits of trees for granted and start nurturing and planting trees. We all become tree advocates thru educating our children and ourselves. Give trees a chance.
Gayle: I would wish for my neighbors and my community to plant more trees – the right trees in the right places. The best way to increase canopy cover in Wyoming, a City already known for it’s trees, is to encourage residents to plant significant shade trees (in addition to ornamentals) on their property and to nurture them to a healthy maturity.
If you would like to be part of the effort this year to help replenish our Tree Canopy, get involved in Make a Difference Day 2016 on Saturday, October 22.
Taking Root is a regional campaign for reforestation in the 8 county Ohio/Kentucky/Indiana (OKI) region. Their goals are to plant 2 million trees by 2020, better manage and conserve existing forests, to promote the benefits of trees and to foster stewardship among individuals and communities.
For more information, visit: http://www.takingroot.info/