Post Content

Ted Dobbin

Ted Dobbin

Clean Energy Fellow, Department of Energy Resources (DOER)

View Ted's Bio

Following the devastation of last year’s tornadoes, which destroyed an estimated 4,000 trees, Springfield residents decided to step up to the plate and rebuild their neighborhoods. ReGreen Springfield created the Tree Planting Initiative, which has made tremendous progress in its efforts to restore vibrancy to Springfield, Massachusetts.  During the project’s initial phase, there were over 800 trees planted in tornado affected neighborhoods using $385,000 in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds directed by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER). Due to the initiative’s incredible success, DOER allocated an additional $125,000 of ARRA funding to expand efforts as part of its ReBuild Western Massachusetts program. This allowed for a total of 300 more plantings, bumping up the total to 1,140 trees.

Trees provide far East Forest Park Trees-ReBuildWMAmore than a respite from the mid-afternoon sun. From off-setting carbon emissions, to reducing the Heat Island Effect (a build-up of thermal energy in urban spaces), trees are a multi-faceted tool for remedying environmental problems. Trees trap carbon dioxide, one of the major contributing greenhouse gases, and release oxygen into the environment. They can help to reduce urban runoff and erosion, absorb sound and noise pollution, and reduce airborne dust levels. During the summer months, the shade created by healthy trees can help to decrease cooling demands in nearby households and reduce ambient air temperature across neighborhoods. Alternatively, trees can serve as windbreaks for buildings during the winter months and help cut home heating costs for affected homeowners.

These inherent traits are all well and good, but dare I say it, the personal significance of trees should not be overlooked. Whether it’s the maple tree in the front yard whose branches you swung through as a child or the giant oak that you carved your initials in, a tree is more than a carbon dioxide sponge. For many of us, they represent the idea of “home,” or a time in one’s life. A time when everything was simpler, and it felt safe to catch fireflies in the backyard beneath that old apple tree on a balmy summer evening. 
IMG_5961
Springfield’s Tree Planting Initiative has helped replace some of these anchors of time and memory lost in the storms of last summer. Excuse the sappiness (and this pun), but I hope these newly planted trees will provide the families of Springfield with a lifetime of new memories.

ReGreen Springfield's efforts are profiled on its Facebook page.

Written By:

Tags: , , , ,

Recent Posts

Fish Need Clean Energy, Too posted on Feb 18

Fish Need Clean Energy, Too

Running a fish farm is an intense operation, one that requires a lot of labor and a large amount of energy. Currently, the McLaughlin Hatchery uses a significant amount of oil to heat its facility. The facility is going to replace its oil furnace with a renewable energy heating system, a new high efficiency wood pellet boiler and pellet storage silo that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by almost 92 percent, save an estimated $11,432 annually, and reduce annual oil use by more than 5,000 gallons.

Wood Pellets are the New Oil for Regional Schools Reducing Fuel Costs posted on Feb 12

Wood Pellets are the New Oil for Regional Schools Reducing Fuel Costs

Did you know that it is possible to heat buildings in the northeast using wood biomass, a renewable energy fuel? With nearly one-third of total energy costs going toward heating our buildings, it is no wonder that Massachusetts school districts are searching for cheaper and   …Continue Reading Wood Pellets are the New Oil for Regional Schools Reducing Fuel Costs

Natural Wildlife Setting Enhanced by New Zero Net Energy Building posted on Feb 6

Natural Wildlife Setting Enhanced by New Zero Net Energy Building

Constructing a commercial zero net energy building (ZNEB) is no easy task, especially one that is 45,000 square feet and sits in Massachusetts where the winters are cold and summers often hot and humid. This is why over 100 people gathered enthusiastically in December in   …Continue Reading Natural Wildlife Setting Enhanced by New Zero Net Energy Building