Nick Overall in front of an uncommon weeping hemlock in Cranbury Park, site of the Norwalk-Wilton Tree Festival May 16. The tree is a candidate for Norwalk’s list of notable trees
Nick Overall, a landscape architect energetically dedicated to promoting Norwalk’s urban forest, has been named the Norwalk Tree Alliance’s first Tree Advocate of the Year. An engraved plaque is to be presented to him May 16 at the Norwalk-Wilton Tree Festival in Cranbury Park on the Norwalk-Wilton line, a free day of fun and arboreal education for the family.
As a neighborhood tree liaison for the past four years, Overall has been active in selecting sites for civic plantings of between 10 and 15 trees a year, largely low-maintenance varieties with full canopies and winter silhouettes--sugar and red maples, red oaks, Chinese lilacs, honey locusts, London planes and cedars.
Overall says he is elated to be part of a movement that recognizes “the value to the people of Norwalk of trees proliferating the urban landscape and that the urban forest requires constant regeneration.”
“It’s always in the best interests of a community to improve its environmental condition,” he adds.
Trees enhance a community with their foliage and stateliness. They provide shade. They filter impurities from the air. They help prevent soil erosion and flooding. They yield fruit and provide sustenance for birds and wildlife. They define property lines. And they increase property values.
The award has been established to recognize an individual or organization for significantly advancing the preservation and propagation of the urban forest or the cause of trees, as determined by members of the nonprofit NTA. Estimates are there are at least 120,000 trees inside Norwalk’s city limits, the majority of them on private property.
Overall is a principal in the Norwalk firm of Bothwell Site Design and the tree liaison for the Eastern Norwalk Neighborhood Association, covering the area bounded by Long Island Sound on the south, the Post Road to the north, the Norwalk River to the west and the Norwalk-Westport line to the east.
The tree festival May 16 (Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.) offers activities like a popular rope tree-climb for kids secured in harnesses and hard hats and showcases a diverse lineup of environmentally-minded exhibitors in tents and demonstrations by experts in tree care, a primer for the homeowners with trees on the property.
Cranbury Park, north of the Merritt Parkway off Grumman Avenue near Route 7 covers 190 wooded acres with eight trails for hikers and bikers, a sculpture garden, a remarkable weeping beech with multiple trunks, an 18-hole Frisbee golf course and a covered pavilion with picnic-style food and drink available, no matter the weather.
Ample parking is available on-site and door prizes are to be distributed at regular intervals over the course of the festival, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The festival falls three weeks after National Arbor Day activities April 24 at Cranbury Elementary School in Norwalk.
Additional information about the festival is available by calling the City of Norwalk Customer Service Center at (203) 854-3200 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.