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2014 Founders Fund Winner

Proposed by The Garden Club of New Haven, Zone II                                                                                                                         Seconded by The Middletown Garden Club, Zone II

Introduced to New Haven in the Eighteenth Century, the stately elm was planted along streets, in parks and in yards throughout the city, leading to its identity as the ‘Elm City.” By the mid twentieth century, 90 percent of the elms were lost to disease, hurricanes and ice storms. The Garden Club of New Haven is determined to reverse this devastating decline.

They have begun successfully repopulating the city with American elms and have created engaging, self-directed audio and brochure-based walking tours and a historical documentary about the New Haven Green, the site of the city’s first elms. The project aims to expand the educational and horticultural reach by developing a school curriculum that includes growing and planting disease-resistant elms, conducting teacher workshops, and bringing students to the Green to experience its historic and environmental importance first-hand.

Eventually, they will relocate the trees grown by students to permanent locations along city streets, in schoolyards and parks, and at homes throughout New Haven. An internship at the Yale School of Forestry will be established to GPS map and monitor the health and growth of each new tree.

The walking tours and the documentary film about the history and trees on the Green will be central to the students’ educational experience. This media will also inform residents and visitors about the importance of the Green, its design and plantings.

This transformational project aligns with The Garden Club of New Haven's civic outreach goals. They hope to preserve the American elm and, at the same time, educate and engage their community.