FARMINGTON — For the 44th consecutive year, Farmington has been named a Tree City USA city.

“All of the credit belongs to the diligent, active members of the Conservation Commission,” Town Manager Richard Davis said in a phone interview Wednesday, June 9. “They’ve done so much over the years, caring for the trees, planting them downtown.”

Four Japanese lilac trees were planted in Farmington last month to replace ones destroyed after being hit by plows. Volunteer Shawn Keenan and Conservation Commission member Jane Woodman are seen with one of the new trees on Main Street. Submitted photo

“We’re one of two towns that have the most years under that program in Maine,” Conservation Commission Chairman Bill Haslam said at the May 11 selectman meeting. “Farmington is the only one that doesn’t have an arborist or dedicated tree staff, it’s all volunteer. We’re pretty proud of that.”

“I’ve been on the Conservation Commission about 20 years now,” Secretary Sally Speich said by phone Wednesday. “For a while it was just planting trees. Younger people have come on, expanded beyond Arbor Day to other things.”

The Commission has been involved with the Walton’s Mill Dam removal project so Atlantic salmon can come back, she said.

“The concept of conservation is to try to preserve what we have,” Speich said. “That’s very important to me. Over the years, Maine people have taken care of what they have.”

The Commission has been active this year. In May, volunteers planted four new Japanese lilac trees downtown. They replaced trees that had died after being hit by plows. The rest of the trees were weeded, mulched, fertilized and watered.

The cost of the trees was over $1,000. The Conservation Commission used its budget to pay for the new trees. To help prevent future damage, trunk protectors will be constructed and installed, hopefully by fall.

May 16 to 22 was proclaimed Arbor Week in Farmington.

The town has received a Project Canopy grant to create an invasive species guide. Haslam and fellow Commission member and Maine State Forester Patty Cormier appeared on Tom Saviello’s June 10 Talkin’ Maine program to educate the public about invasives. The program is available online through Mt. Blue Community Access TV or their Facebook page.

The Conservation Commission was formed 50 years ago.

The Tree City USA program is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters.

Farmington achieved Tree City USA recognition by meeting the program’s four requirements: a tree board or conservation commission, a tree care ordinance, an annual community forestry budget of at least $2 per capita and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation.

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