The Fort Atkinson Community Foundation has awarded a grant of $50,000 to the City of Fort Atkinson to help the city and the newly-reorganized Beautification Council purchase and plant hundreds of new, large trees in the wake of the emerald ash borer infestation. This is a matching grant so every dollar that is raised from the public will be matched by a Foundation dollar, up to $50,000.
To help facilitate the raising of matching funds, a new Fort Tree Fund has been established at the Community Foundation and it is now accepting tax-deductible donations from the public. Giving levels have been established as Sprout, $10 to $99; Sapling, $100 to $299; and Forest, over $300.
Anyone wishing to help with the project can simply send a check made out to the Fort Atkinson Community Foundation, with instructions to direct it to the Fort Tree Fund. Credit card gifts also can be made on the Foundation’s secure website, www.fortfoundation.org, by clicking on the Donate Now button and selecting the Fort Tree Fund. Each gift will be matched by a gift from the Community Foundation.
According to Fort Atkinson City Manager Matt Trebatoski, if the fundraising campaign is successful, the City of Fort Atkinson will be able to plant approximately 60 trees each year over the next five years. The trees will range from 8 to 15 feet tall with trunk diameters of about 2 to 3 inches. Most will be planted by either a contractor or the city’s Department of Public Works staff but some will be planted by volunteers from the Beautification Council and Fort Atkinson High School groups, including FFA, Environmental Club, Student Senate, and Crossroads Alternative School.
The emerald ash borer was first detected within the City in 2014. While some of the healthier ash trees are being chemically treated in an effort to save them, hundreds of diseased trees have already been removed and hundreds more are scheduled to be removed. The new varieties to be planted will give Fort Atkinson a greater diversity of terrace trees that are suited to an urban environment. The overall goal of the project is to reduce the dramatic effect of massive tree loss and provide a healthy urban forest that will foster public health, pleasing aesthetics, and community pride.
“The city is extremely grateful for the matching grant received from the Community Foundation for this project,” noted Trebatoski. “We truly appreciate the Foundation’s generous support and commitment to the beautification and enhancement of our community.”
The Foundation’s grant will come from its Mary Hoard Fund, which is fitting as Mrs. Hoard was a great supporter of beautification projects in Fort Atkinson.
To learn more about the project, contact Beautification Council President, Jude Hartwick, at (920) 568-0626. For more information about how to make a gift to the Foundation’s new Fort Tree Fund, visit www.fortfoundation.org or contact the Foundation’s program administrator, Sue Hartwick, at (920) 563-3210 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.