Over forty years ago, Eastie had a serious lack of trees and shade on many streets. Despite efforts by the former Mayor Kevin White Administration in 1975 to plant nearly 500 trees in Eagle Hill and Jeffries Point the neighborhood’s overall tree canopy is only 15 percent of what it should be.
For nearly two years a group of concerned teens for East Boston’s Neighborhood of Affordable Housing (NOAH) are trying to rekindle the neighborhood’s grassroots effort to get more trees planted in Eastie.
NOAH’s Environmental and Community Building Youth Crew members told residents at a recent community meeting that nearly 70 tress were planted last year and another 40 are slated to be planted this year.
At the meeting NOAH youths Gabriela Ramirez, Juan Sepulveda and Kaylee Aguilar told residents they are now looking for volunteers to help care for and maintain the new trees.
“The new trees need water so we are hoping people will adopt a tree,” said Ramirez. “We are currently going around on bikes with water to make sure the trees are cared for.”
If you don’t want to volunteer or adopt a tree the youths said any homeowner that lives near one of the newly planted trees and has a hose that they could use for watering would be a huge help.
The Youth Crew members have launched the tree canopy project in an effort to bring awareness to Eastie’s lack of street trees and want to double our tree canopy coverage in Eastie. The youth define the tree canopy as street trees or trees that line the sidewalks throughout the neighborhood. The youths have been working to gather information and data on the tree canopy and now are starting to plant these new trees throughout Eastie.
Using Google Earth the Youth Crew mapped and market every tree in the neighborhood. They counted the number of trees per street and calculated how many trees could possibly fit on any given street. Studies show that ideally for a good urban tree canopy there is a tree every 20 to 25 feet.
The Youth Crew found that 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.
An example the Youth Crew showed was a 4,980 foot stretch of Maverick Street from the Maverick Gate near the airport to Maverick Square. The problem is there are only 17 trees, or nine percent of the possible 199 trees that could potentially line the street.
Right now Eastie has only 15 percent of its possible tree canopy using that one tree for every 25 feet measurement. The three youths state that Eastie is missing out on the positive impacts a fully developed tree canopy could have on the health and well-being of residents.
Trees cool things down by as much as nine degrees and street trees have been found to be most effective at reducing “heat islands”. Trees provide more shade and cooler houses, which means less energy used and less money spent on cooling.
The youths also said trees naturally absorb pollution and could reduce urban noise by six to 15 decibels.
The NOAH Youth Crew plans to Increase tree coverage in Eastie to 30 percent thus doubling the current tree canopy coverage. This is because according to the University of Melbourne, cooling benefits from trees start at 30 percent tree coverage for an area. This would mean adding almost 2,000 new trees to the area. With the help of residents and the city the NOAH Youth Crew is confident that can be accomplished.
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer or want to adopt one of the newly planted trees contact Melinda Vega at [email protected]