Park-McCullough wins "Caring for Canopy" Grant

The Park-McCullough House Association is pleased to announced that it has been awarded a $2,000 grant from the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation’s Urban & Community Forestry Program (VT UCF), in partnership with the University of Vermont Extension. The organization offers grants to support the development of sustainable municipal tree management programs. The "Caring for Canopy" is provided to support the development of sustainable urban and community forestry programs at the local level. 

When the estate and grounds of the home of the Halls, Parks and McCulloughs became a community-centered non-profit organization in 1969, the Village of North Bennington embraced it as its own and soon after was put on the National Register of Historic Places. Ever since, the house and estate has served as an open door on village history and a community-wide site for family gatherings on the lawn, croquet matches, world-class music and theatre performances, weddings, and parties. Many school children, like their parents, have studied 19th century life in the rooms of the house and since many local citizens have either worked on the property or been married there since 1865, the estate stands as a symbol of family, linking generations. As a community center (and North Bennington's largest and unofficial park), the grounds are open to visitors free of charge from dawn till dusk. This new self-guided tree tour will accessible beyond regular hours of operation, providing a new experience for returning visitors, and a greater educational take-away for all.

 Our new project aims to conserve the precious trees on the property and engage the community with the aesthetic beauty of well-maintained trees with a special emphasis on the importance of tree preservation for environmental sustainability. Park McCullough is the perfect venue to carry this message as thousands of people from around the world visit the estate every year. 

This project includes three pieces: 

  1. To insure the continued health of more than a hundred trees on the grounds of Historic Park-McCullough (many of which are more than a hundred years old). 
  2. Planting of new trees. 
  3. Creation of a tree walk for visitors for enjoyment and education, with an accompanying exhibition in the greenhouse anteroom.

NEW TREES: Park-McCullough has received two donations of young trees this year to be planted in memory of generous benefactors to PM. In addition, we intend to replace two young donated elms that died last summer from lack of pruning. Pro-active maintenance during the first three years is critical to new growth in young trees, so it is the Association's hope to start scheduled maintenance as soon as possible to prevent further loss. That said a number of our trees are more than a hundred years old, so attrition is to be expected. Each lost tree will be replaced.

THE TREE WALK PROJECT: Park-McCullough enjoys hundreds of visitors each year, and would like to reinstate a history tree walk from years past so that visitors might learn more about the trees. The arborist will work in tandem with the gardener and the Master Gardener group to correctly identify species and determine approximate ages of select trees. This information will be printed on weatherproof plaques to be placed around the property to guide visitors on a tour of the grounds and trees. This project will be completed in June 2017. 

THE TREE WALK PROJECT: We plan to add to our current exhibit CONNECTED THROUGH THE LAND that describes the history of agriculture on the property by including the history of our trees, highlighting the crucial importance of ongoing sustainability for not only the future of our property within the village of North Bennington, but as a practice to be widely used in Vermont and throughout the nation. While much of the focus of Park-McCullough has traditionally centered on its family's contribution to Vermont history (home to two governors and the woman who would start Bennington College; its role in the Civil War, etc), the theme of this new tree exhibit will reinforce PM's commitment to environmental sustainability (we're going solar this year) thereby creating a model with which to inspire all who experience it.