2017 Tree Northampton, Inc. Year in Review

What a year it’s been for Tree Northampton, Inc! Most notably, our small group became recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501 (c)3 organization thanks to efforts of Theo Sweezy.

Spring Plantings
Springtime plantings began early with the ground thawing early. Trees began going in all over the city as we also began the planning for the South Street Community Planting Project, a beautification effort on one of our city’s most well-traveled corridors. Rob Postel, joined by Alicia Purdy, Susan Lofthouse and Susan Roy contributed dozens of hours hiking and mapping planting sites along South Street and working closely with Tree Warden Richard C. Parasiliti, Jr. to identify the best tree for each vacancy based on conditions including limited tree belt spaces and an overabundance of salt. Come May 20 volunteers from the South Street neighborhood, joined by tree lovers from all over the city planted 30 trees. Thanks to Susan Roy for delicious refreshments and Big Y for pizzas!

Trees for the Future
The Northampton Community Gardens Tree Nursery really got off the ground with several great work days preparing beds, planting trees, mulching and weeding. We’re experimenting with grow bags and some tree species the city has not had success in locating on market. Volunteers Virginia Rechtschaffen, Paige Bridgens and Jessica Tanner helped keep an eye on the watering through the dry periods. The Community Gardens board has been especially supportive.

In August Tree Northampton, Inc. presented a tree pest identification workshop at the Florence Community Center in partnership with Lilly Library and featuring Ken Gooch our Commonwealth’s Forest Health Director and his staff. We also organized a public field trip to Worcester for a presentation by the U.S. Department of Agriculture staff about that region’s Asian Longhorn Beetle outbreak. (Thanks to Jonathan Gottsche for amazing organizing!). Active Tree Planting Leaders were offered workshops in planting and pruning thanks to Jay Girard, Bob Goss and Rich Parasiliti.

Community Engagement
In May Tree Northampton, Inc. also organized volunteers and educational materials for the city’s Arbor Day Tree Give-Away at City Hall. Volunteers also tabled at the Winter Farmer’s Market and River Valley Market.

In coordination with the Tree Warden, Rob Postel worked very closely through the summer to guide a new volunteer group in the Village Hill neighborhood as they took on the arduous task of removing excessive mulch from trees while taking care not to damage the roots. 40 volunteers have worked on the project and more than 70 endangered trees have been given a shot at maturing. Also in coordination with the Tree Warden, Tree Northampton, Inc. is assisting the group pruning and training trees going forward.

Fall Plantings
This fall Rob and many volunteers have planted trees in tree-belts and on some lawns all around the city. On November 4th we organized 20 volunteers to work alongside the Northampton Department of Public Works staff for “round two” of the South Street project bringing the total of volunteer-planted trees on South Street to 70 trees in 2017!

This November 18th we organized 15 volunteers to work with Rich and the DPW in planting 8 Scarlet Oak trees along the public shade tree belt at Forbes Library. These trees will replace the oak trees removed over the last decade due to root damage and bring the library back to the original number lining the front sidewalk.

In sum we are close to 215 trees planted and will probably end the year at 230!

Supporting Our Public Shade Tree Commission
Another milestone was aided by Tree Northampton, Inc. founding member Alicia Purdy who volunteered dozens of hours of professional design and graphics services to the City of Northampton Public Shade Commission’s new Tree List and Planting Guide to be published soon. The city will now have a guide for developers and the general public to help inform the development of the canopy.