Copper Beech Planted by Waveny House as Locals Honor Ted Winpenny on Arbor Day

The head of New Canaan’s Public Tree Board gathered with a selectman and small group of locals on the windswept field by Waveny House on Friday morning to dedicate a newly planted copper beech tree to the memory a civic-minded New Canaan man. This year’s Arbor Day planting was dedicated to Ted Winpenny, a man whose numerous activities in New Canaan made it difficult for the board to decide just where to plan the tree, board Chairman Tom Cronin said. “Do we plant the tree at Mead Park, where Ted helped organize the annual Labor Day doubles tennis tournaments?” Cronin said, as Winpenny’s daughter and grandson, Belinda and Benjamin Paris, stood nearby. “Do we plant it on Cherry Street, in front of the New Canaan Community Foundation that he helped to establish, which is an organization that has soon will hit a milestone of more than $10 million to local charities since its inception? Do we plant near Waveny Care Center, where Ted volunteered for so many years?

New Canaan Residents Invited to Find Town’s Largest Trees

Town resident Chris Schipper refers to trees here in New Canaan as “magnificent plants” and “creatures that have stood the test of time.”

New Canaan’s appreciation of trees, particularly large ones, increased in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, which took down so many of them, Schipper said Wednesday at a meeting of the Public Tree Board, held in the computer room at Lapham Community Center. “It makes New Canaan bucolic, to have all of these trees around and these tree-lined streets,” said Schipper, a member of the volunteer board that assists the New Canaan tree warden in overseeing trees on public land in town. “We’re not going to end up like Rye or other places that are just built out in cleared lots.”

The board, which already is overseeing an effort to take an inventory of public trees in New Canaan, is inviting all residents to participate in a new “Notable Trees Project.”

The board’s goal is to develop and maintain a register tracking the largest tree of each species in town. All native and non-invasive naturalized tree species are eligible and a newly created “New Canaan Notable Tree Register” will be available on the board’s page on the town’s municipal website. Connecticut through its statewide “Notable Trees Project” has been documenting big trees in the state for about 30 years.

VIDEO: New Canaan Honors Dick Reifers with Arbor Day Sycamore at Mead Park

In the last year of his life, New Canaan’s Dick Reifers is remembered by one close friend as planting an endangered tree on his own property, the Metasequoia glyptostroboides or “dawn Redwood”—which interested Reifers after its rediscovery in China about 70 years ago. On Friday, New Canaan friends, relatives and town officials remembered Reifers as an civic-minded, avid gardener and generous member of the community, in honoring him with the Arbor Day planting of a sycamore tree on the banks of Mead Pond. New Canaan Marks Arbor Day 2014

Trees that in recent decades is known for carrying a disease that makes them lose their leaves midsummer instead of in the fall, George Valchar said, sycamores yet often live 140 years or more, and are among the tallest in this area, sometimes reaching 160 feet. “Let’s hope that our young American sycamore will survive the early years and then will grow into a giant 150-feet-tall tree with branches turning white with a little green and a little gray, and that the citizens of 2200 as they walk by will admire the great Dick Reifers American Sycamore,” Valchar said at the pond moments before he and others spread soil over the base of the sycamore to mark the day. The event included a proclamation by First Selectman Rob Mallozzi that was delivered by Selectman Beth Jones.