HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – A state program is providing funding to several communities and organizations across the state for tree planting programs.

The Greening the Gateway Cities (GGCP) Implementation Grant Program has awarded $1.3 million in grants to support tree plantings in Gateway Cities. The program is an effort to help decrease energy use, reduce flooding from stormwater runoff, and improve the quality of life in these communities.  

“Our Gateway Cities are on the front lines of the climate crisis,” said EEA Secretary Rebecca Tepper. “With summers getting increasingly hotter, it’s critical that Massachusetts curbs the urban heat island effect. Planting more trees provides a cooling effect in neighborhoods, and is especially important in environmental justice communities where there’s less tree canopy, older housing stock, higher wind speeds, and larger rental populations.”

“Planting more trees in our Gateway Cities helps shield our environmental justice communities from the extreme heat driven by the climate crisis,” said DCR Commissioner Brian Arrigo. “Last year the Greening the Gateway Cities Program reached a milestone of 35,000 trees planted across the Commonwealth and we are excited to work with our partners create more urban tree canopies and green spaces in our communities that need them the most.” 

The GGCP Implementation Grant and Partnership Grant awards will facilitate tree planting in 16 Gateway Cities by funding municipalities and non-profit organizations. The GGCP Implementation Grant awardees are:  

  • City of Everett – $100,000 to plant 65 trees.  
  • City of Fall River – $99,650 to plant 190 trees in three parks with aging canopy in need of rebalanced age diversity.  
  • City of Fitchburg – $88,650 to plant an estimated 50 trees in 3 parks and pursue arborist training to certify 2-3 staff.  
  • City of Haverhill – $100,000 to plant 300 trees and disseminate educational brochures pertaining to the benefits of a healthy tree canopy and tree care.  
  • City of Holyoke – $100,000 to plant 60 trees in tandem with community outreach conducted with OneHolyoke CDC in the Flats, Downtown and Churchill Neighborhoods.  
  • City of Malden – $100,000 to plant 154 trees in partnership with the Mystic River Watershed Association.  
  • City of Quincy – $100,000 to plant 60 trees in the Quincy Point neighborhood, as well as create or expand an estimated 40 tree pits in coordination with DCR.  
  • City of Salem– $100,000 to plant 105 trees in Environmental Justice communities and urban heat islands within Wards 1, 4, 6, and 7 with outreach conducted by Salem Sound Coastwatch. 
  • Groundwork Lawrence – $100,000 to this community-based non-governmental organization to plant 350 trees in the South Lawrence West neighborhood impacted by the Columbia Gas line explosion, and the Tower Hill neighborhood. 
  • New England Botanic Garden – $100,000 to expand the “Get a tree, Plant a tree” program, and complete 200 more residential tree plantings in the Grafton Hill, Main South and Bell Hill neighborhoods of Worcester.  

The Partnership Grant awards advance DCR tree planting in 14 Gateway Cities by funding municipalities that partner with DCR to prepare sites for tree planting, as well as non-profit partners conducting outreach to identify residents and business owners willing to receive free trees. The GGCP Partnership Grant awardees are:  

  • City of Chelsea – $30,000 to purchase and install two catch basin tree pits to intercept storm water runoff and support tree growth.  
  • City of Fitchburg – $12,944 to prepare 16 tree pits within the DCR planting zone.  
  • City of Holyoke – $30,000 grant award to prepare 19 tree pits in the Flats, Downtown, and Churchill neighborhoods of Holyoke.  
  • City of Salem – $29,990 grant award to prepare 46 new tree planting sites in the Church Street and Riley Plaza parking lot areas.  
  • City of Quincy – $30,000 grant award to prepare 40 3’x8′ tree pits for street trees within the DCR planting zone.  
  • Groundwork Lawrence – $20,000 to conduct door-to-door canvassing, literature mailings and tabling at community events to raise awareness of GGCP tree planting within the Haverhill DCR tree planting zone and communicate the benefits of urban canopy.  
  • Groundwork Southcoast – $15,000 to conduct door-to-door canvasing and disseminate literature in the New Bedford DCR tree planting zone, as well as increased awareness of the program via social media. 
  • Growing Places – $33,862 to grow community awareness of the GGCP in both Leominster and Fitchburg; connect DCR foresters with new landowners for tree planting in the DCR planting zones; and increase knowledge of the many benefits of urban tree planting within the community.  
  • Lowell Parks & Conservation Trust – $20,000 to provide a series of programs to engage community residents in the GGCP-Lowell tree planting program and identify high priority planting locations to increase the city’s canopy.  
  • One Holyoke CDC – $20,000 to disseminate information to residents in One Holyoke CDC properties in the planting zone via door-to-door canvassing, educational events focused on the GGCP, as well as assist with Spanish translation for outreach materials.  
  • Regreen Springfield – $40,000 to install city bus shelter wraps along the major roadways in the GGCP neighborhoods to highlight the tree planting efforts of the GGCP and encourage residents to apply for a tree as well as to produce several short videos that raise awareness of the importance of urban trees and introduce the GGCP effort in Springfield.  
  • Salem Sound Coastwatch – $20,000 to conduct outreach and generate interest in the GGCP program, and recruit residents to have tree(s) planted on their property as well as identify high priority planting locations across the designated planting zone in coordination with DCR.  
  • Westfield Puerto Rican Association – $11,775 to strengthen partnerships and address environmental justice concerns through community outreach in coordination with the DCR tree planting team and conduct door-to-door outreach to raise awareness of the GGCP, as well as co-host an education session at the local library, and by table at the Westfield Farmers’ Market.