Heather Dionne, Hartford’s city forester and chairwoman of the Urban Forest Council, was sitting in her office recently and said to herself, “We need to plant a tree for Ed Richardson.” It’s a simple gesture for a man who has given his golden years discovering — and protecting — the state’s trees big and small.

Tree expert and Glastonbury resident Ed Richardson has spent his retirement years scouring Connecticut for state and national champion trees. During that time he worked with Connecticut College Arboretum’s “Connecticut’s Notable Tree Project” and gave numerous walks at cemeteries and parks across the state showcasing big trees.
It seems appropriate, then, that this week the city planted a Bur oak, a tree that can grow over 90 feet, with a 130-foot spread, and can live for over 400 years, to honor Richardson’s commitment.

A Bur oak is moved into its new home at Elizabeth Park. The tree honors the legacy of big tree expert Ed Richardson. (Peter Marteka/Hartford Courant) (Hartford Courant)
“Ed is a pretty spectacular human being,” Dionne said at the planting of the oak at Elizabeth Park Tuesday. “He devoted his entire retirement to the good of our urban forest. To educating folks to identifying the most incredible trees throughout the state and helping out with inventories ... he just has such a passion for it. That’s a gift we all need to celebrate."

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