The city’s efforts to boost its tree canopy were helped by several recent state grants.
Recently, the Healey-Driscoll administration announced $1.3 million in grants to support tree plantings in gateway cities across the state in an effort to increase resilience and mitigate the harm of the climate crisis.
Everett received $100,000 to plant 65 trees in the city. That grant is in addition to another $750,000 Greening the Gateways grant that could see the city plant as many as 1,000 trees on public and private property across the city this year, according to Matthew Lattanzi, Everett’s Director of Planning and Development.
“They have identified multiple areas in the city of Everett that desperately need tree cover to combat the heat island effect,” said Lattanzi.
The tree planting efforts from the grants are just getting underway, and should kick into high gear in the next several weeks, Lattanzi said.
“Anyone is able to reach out; we have forms online where individuals can request a tree in their front or back yard, and they will also be able to take out stumps or dead trees,” said Lattanzi. “They will plant the new tree there for you, they will make sure it is a native species and that it conforms with the area, that it will grow well and it won’t have high pollen counts.”
With its large amount of industrial area, Lattanzi said Everett is especially susceptible to heat islands, where the temperatures are higher than in other communities. Increasing the tree canopy in the city can help combat those heat islands, he added.
“Recently, I got my hands dirty in Malden planting trees. I saw firsthand the tremendous benefits the Greening the Gateway Cities Program has on communities,” said Governor Maura Healey. “Our administration is proud to announce we’re investing in our future by creating more tree canopy in Gateway Cities across Massachusetts to ensure we are providing healthy and livable communities for generations to come.”
Planting more trees in our Gateway Cities helps shield 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 to create more urban tree canopies and green spaces in our communities that need them the most,” said Arrigo.
Eight municipalities and two non-profit organizations will receive awards totaling $988,300 through the Greening the Gateway Cities (GGCP) Implementation Grant Program, and an additional 15 projects are receiving awards totaling $313,571 through the GGCP’s Partnership Grant Program.
The GGCP is a partnership between the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA), the Department of Conservation and Recreation’s (DCR) Urban & Community Forestry Program, the Department of Energy Resources (DOER), and the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), along with Gateway Cities and local grassroots organizations. These tree planting efforts help decrease energy use, reduce flooding from stormwater runoff, and improve the quality of life in these cities.
“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.”