FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: Kristin Mickelson
Phone: (262) 473-1387
Cell: (262) 903-9508
Efforts to increase the number of native tree species in Whitewater’s Starin Park
and identify them with information about their value and natural interrelationship will be getting a financial jumpstart
with the recent award of a $25,000 Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Urban Forestry Grant to the City
Whitewater is one of 47 Wisconsin communities to qualify for the funds and awarded a grant as part of an effort to
replace large amounts of city trees lost due to Emerald Ash Borer and natural attrition. Trees are essential to
maintaining a critical balance of carbon dioxide and oxygen. Tree leaves pull in carbon dioxide and produce oxygen as a
by-product of photosynthesis. This goal of the grant is to help educate the community about the trees that would best
thrive in Whitewater and to promote planting and growing such trees to increase the tree canopy within the city.
The DNR Urban Forestry Grant will reimburse up to $25,000 of city and volunteer efforts to plant and maintain new
trees and shrubs within the nearly 35-acre park that borders the UW-Whitewater campus. The grant is designed to help
city private property owners to understand the critical role of trees in converting carbon dioxide into oxygen.
The initial Whitewater project is to establish an arboretum, or outside museum of trees and shrubs, to provide
educational opportunities for children and adults by identifying and preserving a diverse network of native and imported
trees and plants.
The concept of the Arboretum at Starin Park was initiated by Whitewater Urban Forestry Commission (UFC) member
and retired educator Jim Nies. The UFC is a permanent subcommittee of the City of Whitewater Parks and Recreation
Board that makes recommendations concerning the care of all trees and shrubs planted in the city.
Nies estimates that there are currently as many as 50 declining trees in Starin Park that will soon need to be
replaced. It is estimated that the park currently contains roughly 650 trees.
Whitewater City Forester, Brian Neumeister, estimates the park has lost over 20 trees in the past three years. The UFC
desires to plant 150 native trees and species in the next year to replace dying trees or those that needed to be removed.
The city supported volunteer group is establishing partnerships with UW-W, the Whitewater Unified School District, the
Starin Park Neighborhood Association and several other interested businesses and individuals.
A local fund-raising effort to cover the initial cost of purchasing trees and shrubs and producing educational materials
has generated nearly $15,000 in contributions from the Coburn Company, First Citizens State Bank, the Historic Starin
Park Neighborhood, the Whitewater Community Foundation and many individuals.
Recently, the UFC placed 30 informational tree tags identifying common trees at Starin Park. Expanded tree tagging will
continue for existing trees and new plantings. Plans for in-depth information of each tree will be available in the future
on PlantsMap, a digital program. The UFC’s early efforts have recently resulted in formal accreditation of the Arboretum
at Starin Park by the international arboretum accreditation agency ArbNet.
To learn more or donate to the arboretum, join the UFC or participate in the project, contact Parks and Recreation
Director, Eric Boettcher at (262) 473-0122 or EBoettcher@whitewater-wi.gov.