NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Northern Berkshire Community Coalition will lead an effort to plant more than 800 new trees on public and private land in the city of North Adams over the next three years.
The tree-planting project, an initiative of the Franklin Land Trust and funded by a grant from the U.S. Forest Service, will offer trees to residents and businesses, and also will replace dying or dead trees along downtown streets and within city neighborhoods.
"Trees in urban and suburban neighborhoods provide many benefits to the people who live near them, including improving air and water quality, reducing energy costs, and increasing the physical and social well-being of residents," Bret Beattie, the coalition's tree-planting coordinator, said in a statement. "Trees reduce heating and cooling costs, help to control storm water runoff, and help cool city streets on hot summer days."
NBCC will work with the University of Massachusetts' Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning, the state Department of Conservation and Recreation, and the city's Department of Public Services to develop a tree-planting plan. Residents and businesses can receive free trees, but can also get involved to help plant trees and to become part of a local network of "tree stewards," helping to educate the public about the benefits of trees.
"This project provides an incredible opportunity to enhance our residential neighborhoods and our downtown by planting trees," said Mayor Thomas Bernard in a statement. "I'm grateful to the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition for leading this effort, which represents a terrific collaboration among local, state, and federal agencies; the nonprofit, education, and government sectors; and local residents interested in neighborhood improvement, environmental sustainability, resource management, and the natural beauty of our city and our region."
The U.S. Forest Service offers grant funding for conservation efforts, forest protection and urban greening. Pittsfield two years ago received funding through the state's Greening of the Gateway Cities program to plant 2,400 trees.
Tree planting is scheduled to begin in the spring. Prior to the launch of the tree planting project, the coalition will host a public meeting for residents and volunteers to learn more and provide feedback. Anyone interested in learning more about the tree-planting program and related volunteer opportunities, or in requesting a free tree for a home or business located in North Adams can contact Beattie at 413-663-7588, Ext. 28.
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North Adams' Pandemic State of Emergency Expires June 15
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The city's state of emergency comes to an end next Tuesday, June 15, 459 days after it was declared at the start of the novel coronavirus pandemic on March 13, 2020.
In a statement announcing its termination, Mayor Thomas Bernard cautioned that it doesn't mean residents should throw caution to the wind.
"This action does not mean that the COVID-19 pandemic is over, but with the expiration of the Governor's emergency declaration, I wanted to align the city with the statewide status," he wrote. "For everyone in our community, this means that I encourage you please to continue to take sensible public health precautions for cleaning and personal hygiene, avoiding gatherings and public spaces when you're not feeling well, and continuing to practice self-care.
"People who are not fully vaccinated should continue to wear a face covering and practice social distancing in most cases, and to get vaccinated as soon as you can."
The award is given in honor of Kelley, a teacher who retired as principal of Johnson and Sarah T. Haskins schools. It is presented each year to the educator who exemplifies the ideal teacher through their dedication, skills and understanding of children.
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