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How many trees does New Kensington have? We're about to find out

| Monday, July 17, 2017, 5:33 p.m.

Starting today, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources' Outdoor Corps will spend the next two weeks in New Kensington counting trees.

The Urban Tree Inventory, as the effort is called, isn't terribly different from a census, except the only residents it will count are the ones with leaves.

From July 17 through July 28 members of the Outdoor Corps will note the location, size, species and condition of trees found on city property or in a public right-of-way.

Counting the trees will provide the city's Shade Tree Commission the ability to more effectively plan the management of trees growing on city property and demonstrate the needs of the city when it comes time to apply for grant funding.

According to city councilman Dante Cicconi, who oversees the Shade Tree Commission, having this data is important as the city moves forward.

“As the city of New Kensington undergoes its transformation into a smart city, this exercise will provide the crucial initial base data of the current city-owned tree stock. This information will assist the Shade Tree Commission, government officials and the public in preparing and utilizing the best management practices of the city's tree assets,” Cicconi said.

The Shade Tree Commission is tasked with preserving and maintaining municipal tree stock.

The Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps is staffed by young adult volunteers and, according to the program's website, “offers work experience, job training, and educational opportunities to young people who complete recreation and conservation projects on Pennsylvania's public lands.”

Cicconi asked that residents be reminded that pruning or removing shade trees requires a permit and that removal of trees without a permit can result in a fine. Residents with questions or concerns about city shade trees, or those interested in being involved in the city's Shade Tree Commission, are advised to call the city clerk's office at 724-335-3554.

Matthew Medsger is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-226-4675, mmedsger@tribweb.com, or on Twitter @matthew_medsger.

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