Fall is the perfect time of year to plant trees, and Speak for Trees and Tree Eastie, two organizations that have been trying to rekindle the neighborhood’s grassroots effort to get more trees planted in the neighborhood, collaborated with three other neighborhood groups to provide free trees to Eastie residents and plant trees in Liberty Plaza.
Last weekend the group of volunteers from Speak for the Trees, Tree Eastie, Eastie Farm, Mothers Out Front and NOAH gave away over 50 trees to local residents and planted another 20 around Liberty Plaza in Central Square.
“The program was the result of a grant from Accenture and organized by Boston based Speak for the Trees,” said Tree Eastie’s Bill Masterson. “Over 20 volunteers participated in the event which included planting 14 red oak trees along Border Street in Liberty Plaza. These trees will provide much needed shade in an area affected by urban heat island. Other trees were planted in the Urban Wilds behind the Samuel Adams School which will soon provide shade to the playground.”
Rep. Adrian Madaro filled up the back of his dad Jacapo’s 1980’s Toyota pickup truck and distributed trees to residents unable to pick up the free tree that they ordered.
“As an environmental justice community that bears the brunt of urban pollution due to our proximity to an International Airport and major highway trees are a proven way to reduce heat and air pollution,” said Madaro. “Studies have shown the placement of trees in urban areas can cool the air between two and eight degrees. Large urban trees also help filter urban pollutants and fine particulates making the air cleaner to breath.”
Masterson said last weekend’s event was a unique collaboration between several local environmental groups.
“East Boston was selected by Speak for the Trees’ Teen Urban Tree Corps based on the low tree canopy and Eastie’s designation as an environmental justice community,” said Masterson. “In an effort to provide East Boston residents with relief from the summer heat and reduce the effects of noise and air pollution, the group is hoping to repeat the event next spring. Thanks to these groups, we can all breathe a bit easier.”
For the past year Tree Eastie, with the help of Speak for Trees, has been teaming up with NOAH’s youth group and, more recently, Eastie Farm and MOF to document open tree pits, to care for street trees, and to get new trees planted in the neighborhood.
The collaboration has been part of a years-long effort to increase Eastie’s tree canopy and improve the health and beauty of the neighborhood.
Last year Tree Eastie and NOAH received a grant of $10,000 to plant more trees in Eastie. The project is an effort to bring awareness to Eastie’s lack of street trees with the goal of doubling the neighborhood’s tree canopy coverage. Over 70 trees were planted last year, and another 40 trees are slated to be planted this year.
Studies show that ideally for a good urban tree canopy there is a tree every 20 to 25 feet.
The NOAH youth found there were 1,924 trees in Eastie and over 300,000 linear feet of sidewalk space. On average there is a tree every 167 feet. If a tree was planted every 25 feet Eastie could have over 12,500 trees.