Tree Eastie Is Hitting Milestones and Has Big Plans for 2024

By Michael Coughlin Jr.

Tree Eastie, a local non-profit organization that plants and maintains trees while educating people about their benefits, has hit a major milestone and has even bigger plans for the remainder of the year and beyond.

Bill Masterson, Tree Eastie’s Founder, revealed to the East Boston Times that coming out of 2023, the organization had planted its 300th tree.

“While a lot of those were street trees and park trees, we also had a program where we planted yard trees for people,” said Masterson.

The significance of this milestone cannot be understated, considering the organization’s mission to increase the neighborhood’s tree canopy, which is the lowest in the City of Boston.

Now, with 300 trees under their belts, Masterson and his team of volunteers are ready to do even more for the neighborhood.

“All things are going well. We came out of last year in a great position and are poised to really hit the ground running in 2024 with a few different events and a few different priorities,” said Masterson.

As for Tree Eastie’s plans, Masterson explained that the organization has been talking with the city about what to do after the non-profit has filled almost every empty tree well in the neighborhood.

Masterson says that not only has the city given Tree Eastie the greenlight to plant in any park, but the organization is now waiting on federal funding from the Inflation Reduction Act, which will be earmarked for planting trees on private property.

“The biggest tree canopy loss in the city over the past five years has been on private property — primarily because of all the development that’s taking place,” said Masterson.

With this funding, Tree Eastie will be able to plant trees in people’s backyards, church grounds, businesses, and more this spring.

“Any place that is not a public parcel, we’re going to be able to plant trees,” said Masterson. He also called the private yard planting a key focus and said Tree Eastie aims to plant 100 yard trees this year.

Another focal point for Tree Eastie this year involves building on last year’s work when the organization cut new tree pits along Meridian Street and planted new trees, which cost a lot of money.

However, Masterson explained that the city has a deal with its contractor: if they cut the sidewalk, they plant the street trees.

“On one hand, it sounds like it kind of puts Tree Eastie out of business on the street tree front, but the great news is that the city has said, hey, if you can identify neighbors, residents, abutters that want a street tree planted in front of their house, you give us their information, and they’re okay to be able to do that, and we’ll get trees planted on the street sidewalks in front of their house,” said Masterson.

Now, Tree Eastie volunteers, through connections and door-to-door outreach, have identified more than 100 locations to plant sidewalk trees.

Moreover, Masterson called the non-profit’s biggest victory the contact with large property owners in the neighborhood, like the East Boston Community Development Corporation, Neighborhood of Affordable Housing, and East Boston Neighborhood Health Center.

Through these contacts, Tree Eastie has been given the go-ahead to plant trees — where eligible — in front of the properties owned by these organizations.

“I’d love to be able to give those organizations props for stepping up to the plate, allowing us to be able to do that,” said Masterson.

Masterson explained that essentially, Tree Eastie hands over a list of locations in front of these properties where they have approval from the organizations, and the city goes out, marks them, and eventually will plant the trees.

“Amazingly enough, we started this about a month ago. After about two weeks, I sent the list into the city of about 40 different locations where we had approval to plant sidewalk trees, and the next week, the city was out marking the sidewalks, and those trees will be planted within the next say six weeks or so,” said Masterson.

Masterson also praised city officials, such as Tree Warden Max Ford-Diamond, who he said has been incredible to work with, and Director of Urban Forestry Todd Mistor, who he said has been a great ally.

Further, Masterson spoke about some plans he has worked on with Mistor that are coming soon. Specifically, Tree Eastie is slated to plant 12 trees with the city at Noyes Park on April 5th.

While all this work is exciting for the organization, Masterson emphasized the importance of educating others about why work like this is essential and why someone might want a tree themselves.

For example, the organization is handing out thousands of pieces of literature so that people can learn more about tree benefits, such as reducing heat island effects and pollution, and how they can get their own trees.

“There’s a lot of people that still just don’t understand why I would ever want to have a tree in my yard or on my front sidewalk,” said Masterson.

If you are interested in getting a tree of your own, visit, which lays out directions to order a street or yard tree.

Further, to learn more about Tree Eastie or donate to the organization, visit

“I’m passionate about the work that the volunteers are doing and the impact that we’re making on the community,” said Masterson.

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