Wellesley Natural Resources Commission and Department of Public Works
Honored with Tree City USA Award for 30th Consecutive Year
(Attending the Tree City Award Program, from left to right: Eric Seaborn, DCR Urban Community Forestry Program Coordinator; Neal Seaborn, NRC Commissioner; Janet Hartke Bowser, NRC Executive Director; Edward Lambert, Massachusetts DCR Commissioner)
(DPW Tree Program Crew, from left to right: Greg Carr, Jeremy Fawe, Jake Thompson, and Kent Warren)
The Wellesley Natural Resources Commission (NRC) and Department of Public Works (DPW) were recently honored with a Tree City USA Award. This is the 30th consecutive year Wellesley has received this designation, making it the leading Massachusetts community to receive this award. The award was given in recognition of the NRC and DPW's proactive and ambitious public tree management program that preserves and protects over 10,000 Town-owned trees for the enjoyment of the public and the enhancement of Wellesley's environment.
Urban and community forests are visible signs that our community has a sense of pride in its environment and that its public trees are highly valued by residents. The environmental benefits of urban and community forests are many, but they can be summarized as follows:
- Our forested streets and parks help define the character of our community and offer the functional human benefits of noise reduction, cooling shade, visual screening, enhanced property values, economic growth, community pride, reduction of crime and more rapid recovery from illnesses;
- Our forests reduce levels of pollutants such as solid particles, carbon dioxide, ozone, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide and others that contribute to climate change and seriously impact human health and the environment;
- Trees are the Town's most important natural infrastructure;
- Our forests reduce heating and cooling needs for buildings, thereby reducing costs; reduce the "urban heat island effect" (localized heating due to the predominance of black-topped surfaces) to provide a more comfortable environment; reduce rainfall runoff and erosion, thereby improving water quality and efficient re-charge of local aquifers; and function as crucial wildlife habitat.
The Tree City USA Awards are sponsored by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) Urban Forestry Program and the National Arbor Day foundation to honor communities committed to urban forestry. To receive the Tree City designation, municipalities must meet four criteria, which include establishing a department dedicated to tree care, spending at least $2 per capita per year on urban forestry, enforcing laws that protect public trees and hosting an Arbor Day celebration.
Wellesley founded a Park Commission in 1888 to landscape avenues and parks, and it was one of the first boards established in the Town. Today, the NRC serves as the Town's Park Commission, Conservation Commission and Tree Wardens. Together with the DPW, the NRC promotes a "Shade Trees Make the Difference" campaign to encourage support for shade trees throughout the Town. This year, the NRC and DPW will plant over 100 shade trees. Some of these will be to replace trees lost to age, disease and road construction, while others will be planted to reduce erosion, screen areas, or simply to increase the aesthetic value of the landscape.
"This [Tree City USA] award is a testament to the Town's long tradition of valuing trees and open spaces and we are honored to once again be its recipient," says NRC Executive Director, Janet Hartke Bowser.
For more information about this alert and to join the NRC's Green Wellesley Campaign, contact NRC Director Janet Bowser at [email protected], or 781-431-1019, ext. 2294.
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