Thanks to record-breaking donations, over $23,000 was raised at Ronald Lee Fleming’s Bellevue House Daffodillion gala to further beautify Newport.
Last year’s event generated sufficient funds to purchase a bulb-planting machine that was donated to the City. This year’s dinner raised 25% more in contributions that purchased 26 trees that now grace the entryway into Newport and 100, 000 bulbs for Daffodillion’s free bulb give-away on October 15.
The City of Newport planted the trees – along with five others dona ted by the RI Tree Council – with the support of the RI Bridge and Turnpike Authority (RITBA) and the RI Department of Transportation (RIDOT).
The City also partnered with the Newport Tree Society to obtain a $4,000 America the Beautiful Grant from the RI Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM ) while RIBTA removed the fence, formally adopted the tree plantings and assumed responsibility for ongoing maintenance. The city contributed in-house resources for administration, equipment and pla nting valued at $7,000.
“This tree planting further supplements our citywide arboretum, serving as a welcoming reminder of Newport’s singular heritage of a Tree City USA,” said Lilly Dick, President of the Newport Tree Society. The new trees now join the 50,000 daffodils that have been planted at the entryway over the past three years and that explode into a bright yellow display each spring. Together, the trees and daffodils will ensure lasting beauty for future generations to enjoy as they enter the City by the Sea.
“We were delighted to partner with the Tree Society during the Newport Daffodil Days Festival to raise funds for the purchase of both the daffodil bulbs and trees that enhance the beauty of our city,” said Mr. Fleming, Chairman of Scenic America. “Without the enthusiastic support of Scott Wheeler, the City’s Tree Warden, Eric Offenberg, RITBA’s Director of Engineering and the state of Rhode Island’s agencies, none of this would have been possible.”
The Tree Society and Daffodillion are well on their way to their respective goals. Daffodillion has now donated 494,000 bulbs that have been planted by residents, businesses, volunteers, the city and RITBA – almost half of its “daffy” objective of one million. Likewise, The Newport Tree Society is more than halfway to its goal of becoming the first city in the world to reach Arboreta Level 3 professional accreditation status through the Morton Registry.