The Saratoga Tree Nursery is being targeted for closure by the Department of Environmental Conservation in order to meet mandated budget and personnel cuts as set by Governor Paterson. This decision to close the Nursery is not set in stone, but is a grave possibility if a consensus is not reached between the Governor and the Unions regarding a raise freeze and the enactment of a proposed one week lag pay for the state work force.
The Saratoga Tree Nursery Program was started in 1902. The State Nursery in Saratoga began in 1911. The Nursery Program survived the Great Depression, and created many jobs for Civilian Conservation Corps men and women in the 30's who were instrumental in re- planting the barren areas in New York with seedlings grown at NY State operated nurseries.
At one time NY had as many as 9 state operated nurseries. All nursery operations were consolidated to Saratoga in 1972.
Today the Saratoga Tree Nursery produces and supplies over 1.2 million seedlings a year to New York residents at cost for various conservation plantings such as soil erosion control, wildlife habitat improvement, and the creation of riparian buffer zones. The Nursery produces NY seed source seedlings from seed collected by its staff from orchards they maintain throughout NY. The seedlings produced at Saratoga preserves the qualities of New York natives which have shown superb characteristics.
The Tree Nursery also supplies over 32,000 seedlings to NY state schools through the "School Seedling Program". This program is open to all NY public and private schools and offers 50 free seedlings to each school that applies to be used within their curriculum. Tree awareness and respect for our environment needs to start with NY's youth
If the State Tree Nursery closes the cost of the many ongoing conservation projects in NY will increase significantly. Many would no longer be cost effective to pursue. Those projects which continue will not have the benefit of using local NY seed source material. The integrity of NY's forests could be at stake. The State Nursery also gives away tens of thousands of seedlings to NY residents during special events (Arbor Day, fairs, Environmental events) in order to promote tree planting and preservation. The Saratoga Nursery also produces 40,000 flowers a year for use at DEC campgrounds and facilities. The Nursery also supplies seedlings used to replant state land and for other special projects throughout NY.
If you agree that the NYS DEC Saratoga Tree Nursery is still a vital part of the preservation of the New York State environment please contact your local state legislative representatives, Commissioner Grannis of DEC, and even the Governor's Office and tell them NY still needs its Nursery and that the vital role it plays can not be replaced.
Thank you for your support,
Friends of Saratoga Tree nursery