For a couple of years now Tree Eastie has been trying to rekindle the neighborhood’s grassroots effort to get more trees planted in East Boston.
Tree Eastie’s Bill Masterson has been on a crusade to get the neighborhood’s tree canopy closer to the average tree canopy in other Boston neighborhoods and will have a pretty busy spring planting trees thanks to recent grant money.
As Masterson and Tree Eastie gear up to plant 100 street trees this spring the group is looking for volunteers to help with the effort.
“Tree Eastie is planting more street trees this spring,” said Masterson. “Once again we will be focusing on the highest urban heat island locations. We are looking for volunteers to dig holes and help with tree planting. The commitment is a couple of hours. No experience is necessary and we will provide the training and tools.”
Masterson said Tree Eastie will pair groups of two to dig 3’x3’x3’ holes in existing tree pits. “Previous volunteers know this is a fun, feel good, community building, physical workout,” he said. “We will pick dates in April and May to do the work. It’s a rewarding way to meet your neighbors as well as beautify Eastie while cooling our streets. If you don’t dig holes, we have other less physical activities where we could use your help and you can work at your own pace.”
Those interested in volunteering can email Masterson at [email protected].
There’s a lot of benefits trees have, unfortunately Eastie suffers from the lowest tree canopy in the city. The neighborhood’s tree canopy is at 7% while the city average is 27%.
Tree Eastie recently forged some alliances and some benefactors who are asking the group to help them site tree plantings.
The first is the Temple Ohabei Shalom Cemetery on Wordsworth Street, which is the oldest Jewish Cemetery in Eastern, Massachusetts. They’re celebrating their 180th anniversary and 180 is a big number in the Jewish community in terms of significance, so they want to plant 18 trees in the area of the cemetery. There’s already enough trees in the cemetery so Tree Eastie is going to plant trees both at Constitution Beach as well as the Salesian Boys & Girls Club. Tree Eastie focused on Eagle Hill when planting street trees last fall. With Eagle Hill being one of the worst urban heat islands in Eastie, Masterson said Tree Eastie wanted to plant trees where the heat islands are the most severe.
Tree Eastie has identified spots in Orient Heights, as well as Harbor View, that need street trees and the group will be planting 30 new street trees in those two neighborhoods this spring.
Tree Eastie will also focus its efforts on Maverick and Central Square and then Jeffries Point through a large grant from Delta Airlines. Masterson said that money will be used to plant 40 new street trees across these areas.
Tree Eastie also plans to plant more fruit trees at the Rockies in Jeffries Point across from Piers Park through a new relationship with Eastie Farm. Eastie Farm will be able to take the harvest from those trees, which include apple trees, peach trees, pear trees, cherry trees and mulberry, and put those fruits back into the community. This program will distribute the food to folks that need it as well as putting it into the Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) program that Eastie Farm has established.