Transition Ferndale will meet on Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012 at 7 p.m. at the Ferndale Library, 220 East Nine Mile Road, Ferndale, MI.

The subject for the meeting is trees. In Ferndale, as in every other community nearby, trees have seen some hard times in recent years. Oak wilt and the emerald ash borer have destroyed many oak and ash trees. Windstorms have toppled others. Drought has been tough on the surviviors, causing many of them to drop their leaves before the fall color season got a good start. Our changing climate means that the range for trees and other plants is shifting north, so some trees that were well-suited for last century’s local climate will not be suited for this century’s. For instance, although Michigan is not “the Buckeye State,” southern Michigan is now part of the natural range for the buckeye tree.

The result is that we need more trees, but not direct replacements of exactly the trees that we had before. We may be able to grow trees that are useful for fruit and nuts, in addition to providing wood, shade and some natural beauty. If we have to do something different in any case, we may as well try to improve local sustainability.

Our speaker for the evening will be Brian Cooley. He is a Certified Arborist and Ferndale resident.  He has given his time as part of Ferndale’s annual Arbor Day tree planting at Oppenheim Park on St. Louis Street, showing schoolchildren the proper way to plant and to care for a young tree. Cooley began working in the green industry in 1981. “I started moving lawns and worked my way up the ladder,” he said. He specialized in trees since 2002, when he formed his business, Community Arborist. His son, Chris, has worked with him for the past 5 years.

He’ll address what trees to plant and when to plant them, how to care for them, and will answer question from the audience. The focus, of course, is on Ferndale, because this is Transition Ferndale and we are in the Ferndale Library. Our group is trying to be a regional hub as well as a local group, and the knowledge applies far beyond the borders of Ferndale. People from Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties are welcome to attend. For that matter, people from Ohio, Ontario or elsewhere are welcome, though we don’t expect anyone to travel a great distance just for this meeting.

As usual, we will have some free light refreshments, mostly produced locally.

Also – the Great Lakes Bioneers conference is coming up the weekend immediately after this meeting (October 19-21, 2012). See for details.