Somerville, MA (May 3, 2007)- Young people from 13 cities braved rain and storms to plant more than100 trees April 27 for Massachusetts’ first statewide Arbor Day coordinated by Eagle Eye in partnership with the MA YouthBuild Coalition and Dept. of Conservation and Recreation.
The simultaneous statewide events brought trees to underserved low-income urban areas, increasing the equity of tree canopy across different neighborhoods and was a progressive step toward improving the health of neighborhood residents and the cities overall. The day’s activities served as a hands-on field day, extending the knowledge of those involved in Eagle Eye’s Green Industry Career Pathway program as much as it increased elected officials’ awareness of Eagle Eye’s efforts on behalf of youth, trees, parks and urban spaces.
Youth enjoyed the day as can be seen from sample comments from their evaluations: “Plant more trees!” “Find a place where more trees can be planted so we can make more of a difference!” The most interesting part of the day was “digging the holes… planting the trees, working together to put the big tree down (in the hole), having people recognize us, all of us getting together stepping up, making the park look better than ever, the teamwork.”
Enthusiasm was also high among the 30 tree resource people. They said the best part of the day was “the youth, communication with the youth about the environment, sharing the project with YouthBuild and Eagle Eye, learning from the youth, seeing them work together in the rain with such positive attitudes and willingness to get the job done.”
Massachusetts has a proud heritage as an historic and present-day innovator in the field of conservation. The day’s slogan: Planting roots for our future refers to this proud heritage. In the 1890s, a grove of nearly two dozen very large and ancient white oaks that grew on a series of steep, short hills rising above Beaver Brook, and later came to be known as the Waverley Oaks, served as the inspiration for the creation of the world’s first land trust (now called The Trustees of Reservations) as well as the nation’s first public regional park authority (formerly known as the MDC, Metropolitan District Commission, now part of the MA Department of Conservation and Recreation). The land trust and regional park movements that the Waverley Oaks helped to establish have had global impacts, helping to conserve millions of acres of open space in the United States and internationally.
The day’s events linked this historic past to the future of conservation in the state, in which urban young people take the lead to engage a broad diversity of citizens in the stewardship of our natural and cultural resources. YouthBuild students and staff, working in partnership with their local municipal governments and other volunteers, from the Trustees of Reservations and other local coalitions and organizations planted trees in all 11 YouthBuild cities, Somerville, home of Eagle Eye and YouthBuild USA, as well as Belmont/Waltham, site of the historic Waverley Oaks.
They received wide coverage both in print and on cable, thanks to the work of Classic Communications staff and local partners. Eagle Eye’s work supporting development of urban youths’ environmental leadership was recognized by Acting Commissioner of DCR, Priscilla Geigis and Undersecretary for the Environment Philip Griffiths. Mayor Menino of Boston used the event to announce that Boston will plant 100,000 trees by 2020.
Arbor Day Press Release
Eagle Eye Institute
Massachusetts Dept. of Conservation and Recreation
Boston Announces Urban Forestry Initiative