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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Drury Graduate to Direct Horror Film in North Adams
By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A Drury High School graduate is hoping to bring his dream — or, more appropriately, his nightmare — to film life.
The horror film "The Uncredited," written by Nick Burchard, will be filmed in North Adams this spring, pending fundraising and the COVID-19 pandemic. Burchard's Tiny Viking Productions is making the film in conjunction with Sancha Spiller and Kasey Rae of Skylah Productions of New York City.
"I grew up in the area, and I've always appreciated the historical places, in particular the Hoosac Tunnel, Mohawk Theater, and the old mills," Burchard said. "I think North Adams has a very unique setting, with the mountains surrounding the city and of course, all the steeples.
"The Uncredited" follows a young woman who appears in an independent film. While watching it, her friends notice something disturbing in the background of her scene. This leads to rumors and distrust in even the closest group of friends.
"My goal is to make great characters, and even though it's a spooky thriller the characters in it are just friends sitting down to watch a movie together," Burchard said. "They crack jokes, roast each other, and are all collectively trying to have a good time … but that juxtaposed with the realization that one of them might be hiding something is what creates the thriller edge to this. I think it's really fun."
Spiller added that the film does not rely on horror tropes such as jump scares. She said the screenplay is character-driven.
"It showcases our greatest fear of not knowing the people around us as well as we think," she said. "It makes us second guess who we trust and remember that just being in the wrong place at the wrong time can have horrifying consequences."