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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