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

New Walden Pond Visitor Center Would Inspire Even Thoreau posted on Dec 17

New Walden Pond Visitor Center Would Inspire Even Thoreau

The 335 acre Walden Pond State Reservation annually attracts 500,000 people from all over the world, who journey there not just for recreation but for inspiration. Those visitors will soon have another amenity to enjoy. Earlier this month, Governor Deval Patrick joined community leaders, other public officials, environmentalists and project partners to break ground on the Department of Conservation and Recreation’s new $8 million Walden Pond Visitor Center, designed to incorporate a wide-range of sustainable materials and technologies.

Thirteen New Green Communities: Cause for Celebration (With Cake) posted on Dec 10

Thirteen New Green Communities: Cause for Celebration (With Cake)

The United States was created from thirteen colonies, which suggests that thirteen is a lucky number. Massachusetts just added another lucky thirteen. A new round of Green Communities – you guessed it, thirteen of them – brings the total number of cities and towns that   …Continue Reading Thirteen New Green Communities: Cause for Celebration (With Cake)

How Many Inspections Does It Take To Install A Solar System? posted on Dec 4

How Many Inspections Does It Take To Install A Solar System?

How many municipal inspections does it take to install a residential solar photovoltaic (PV) system? Two is the magic number, however it can often be difficult to hit. In order for a solar customer to install an array, their system must obtain a building and   …Continue Reading How Many Inspections Does It Take To Install A Solar System?