Thanks to a grant from the U.S. Forest Service, Franklin Land Trust, in partnership with the MA Department of Conservation and Recreation, town tree committees, and municipal public works departments to planted a total of 582 trees alongside 238 volunteers in Greenfield, Montague, and North Adams in 2019! This work is part of a larger effort to plant 2400 trees in these three small cities by 2021.

Trees provide a multitude of benefits to the people who live near them. Trees improve air and water quality, reduce energy costs, store carbon, curb stormwater runoff, and provide much needed shade in urban landscapes. Small cities across the country are suffering from a loss of tree canopy cover, and a lack of funds to plant new trees. Many urban areas have high percentages of impervious surfaces, such as paved roads, sidewalks, or parking lots that reflect heat and don’t allow water to seep into the ground beneath. This is leading to what is called the “Urban Heat Island Effect,” referring to significantly higher temperatures in urban areas compared to surrounding rural towns. To make matters worse, climate change is driving average temperatures up making it harder for city streets to cool down, even at night.

Trees can help to mitigate the effects of climate change by shading sidewalks, parking lots, and buildings in the hot summer months. Thanks to this grant funding, downtown streets lacking tree canopy cover in Greenfield and Montague are seeing the many benefits that trees can bring.

The presence of trees in a neighborhood can increase walkability, slow down motorists, and even contribute to a sense of pride in a community. “This project is already having a measurable, positive impact in Montague,” says Walter Ramsey, Montague Town Planner. “It is making our villages and downtown more beautiful and more energy efficient for generations to come.”

Franklin Land Trust is honored to be a part of this ambitious and transformative project. Tree planting will resume in the spring of 2020 and we need your help! Contact FLT to see how you can get involved and visit the events page on our website for more tree planting volunteer opportunities.

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