Trapani appointed to new term on Sarasota Tree Advisory Council

Two other persons applied for open at-large seat

The Sarasota County Commission has reappointed Nokomis resident Jean-Ellen Trapani to an at-large seat on the Sarasota Tree Advisory Council (STAC).

He term had expired, a county staff memo explained. Her reappointment will keep her on the Council through January 2026, the memo added.

The county website explains that the STAC members recommend “street and neighborhood planting projects and priorities; assist the county in updating and revising a consolidated tree list; assist in the dissemination of public information,” along with reviewing and recommending revisions to the County Code of Ordinances relating to trees”; and nominate new canopy roads for County Commission consideration.

Commissioner Mark Smith nominated Trapani, noting, “She’s been on the [STAC] for some time now,” and her attendance record is above 90%.

Smith added, “I think she’s worthy of reappointment.”

No other commissioner offered a comment, so Chair Ron Cutsinger asked staff to congratulate Trapani on the commission’s behalf “and thank her for her service.”

In her application, Trapani wrote, “As a senior citizen with a lifetime of experience in learning about trees as a hobby, I would like to serve and donate my time toward a healthier community by promoting the planting and growing of trees.”

She then explained that, 59 years ago, while she was in sixth grade, she completed a science project that involved tree identification. Then, as an adult working in White Plains, N.Y., she continued, “I took a nature education course so I could be a docent in that area. [In] the late 1990’s I was a docent at 2 Audubon facilities in Fairfield County, [Conn.,] and led grade school children on short nature walks in the morning before going to work at noon. I took an arborist class in Stamford [Connecticut] at Bartlett Arboretum and Gardens and passed [it] in the late 1990’s as well. I have visited numerous arboretums in California, Pennsylvania and Connecticut. I was a member of the American Chestnut Foundation for several years & attended the first meetings they had after hiring a corn geneticist because no other methods of bringing back the American Chestnut were working.”

She holds a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and a master’s degree in library science, she added on the application. “I worked for 32 years as a research librarian in Fortune 500 companies,” she wrote, “including 3 1/2 years with the investment bank of Lazard Freres at 1 Rockefeller Plaza in NYC.”

Trapani also is a member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary in Venice, for which she serves as the Flotilla staff officer in charge of program visits.

Trapani submitted her application for reappointment on Jan. 17, a document in the April 11 commission agenda packet says.

The other two applicants for the at-large STAC seat were Joseph Vibonese, also of Nokomis, who submitted his documentation to county staff on Feb. 15, 2022; and Marc Gau of Sarasota, who turned in his materials on April 13, 2022.

In his application, Vibonese wrote that he is a certified arborist working with Simply Trees LLC in Venice. He noted that he has received other types of certification in the “arborcultural field,” as well.

He learned of the STAC opening from Amber Delehanty, owner of Simply Trees, he wrote. She is a former STAC member herself.

Gau pointed out in his application that he is a municipal drinking water and wastewater contractor with a company called Evoqua Water Technologies, which is located on Tallevast Road in Sarasota. He added that he wants to serve on the STAC to help the county retain greenspace and to share concerns about “the growing environmental impact we are having on our beautiful Sarasota County as it continues to populate.”

Gau holds a Bachelor of Arts in business/finance, an MBA and a Master of Science in information technology, he noted.