Hello there tree enthusiasts!

Hope that everyone is enjoying this beautiful summer weather we’re having. Let me introduce myself- I’m Rudy, the new program coordinator for Southie Trees! I’m currently a third year student at Northeastern University, majoring in Environmental Studies and Economics. My areas of interest are in urban and economic development as well as sustainability. My hobbies include hiking, reading non-fiction books, and watching re-runs of 1990s television shows (currently watching The X-Files). I’m extremely excited for what’s in store for Southie Trees in the next couple of months, and will make sure to keep everyone up to date on the fun and exciting programs and events that I have planned.

Before I go any further, I want to give a big thank you to all past program coordinators (Maggie, Devon, Lindsay, and Bethany) for their hard work. You guys have done so much for this organization and it’s truly an honor to be the newest addition to the Southie Trees family.

Over the next couple of weeks I’m going to make a strong effort to try and acquaint myself with as many South Boston residents as possible and I would love to get a chance to meet you. Please feel free to stop by the office or send me an email at southietrees1@gmail.com. Until next time!

Have a safe and merry Fourth of July weekend!

~Rudy S. Galvis

 

 

 

Southie Trees is excited to announce the launch of our third FREE tree giveaway program!

We are committed to protecting and expanding South Boston’s tree cover and that includes helping residents plant trees in their own back yards. Trees do not only increase the aesthetic appeal of a backyard; they are valuable in mitigating air and storm water pollution, and their shade lowers the costs of heating and cooling homes.

We’ll supply you with all the necessary tools and will teach you the proper planting techniques at a community tree planting on April 26th. If you have a green space that could use a beautiful tree, apply for a free one today! The deadline for applying is April 21st, and trees will be given away on a first come first serve basis so don’t wait!

The application is below. You can either fill it out and email it to us at southietrees1@gmail.com or drop it by our office located at 365 W Broadway. If you have any questions about the program, please don’t hesitate to send us an email.

Plant-A-Tree Application Spring 2014

Happy Growing Season!

Maggie

 

 

Hello tree enthusiasts,

My name is Maggie Poyant and I am happy to announce that I have been warmly welcomed into the Southie Trees family as its newest program coordinator. I am an Environmental Science major from Northeastern with focuses in environmental studies, biology, and surficial processes. I hope to bring some new ideas and continued commitment to the Southie Trees organization during my time here. Devon, Bethany and Lindsay have all done fabulous work in the South Boston community over the past two years and I can only hope to carry on their efforts in preserving and expanding Southie’s urban forest.

Thanks to all of the past coordinators’ hard work, we will be able to continue our established Plant-A-Tree and Water-A-Tree programs throughout the spring. We’ll also be working in collaboration with local schools to promote heathy environmental education and getting out into the community once the artic cold leaves the area in the spring. As always, we love to receive feedback from all of you on our neighborhood presence. If there is anything in particular that you would like to see improved upon, or you’d just like to volunteer your time for us, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

I’d love to get to know as many devoted Southie Tree-ers as possible, so feel free to stop by the office or shoot me an e-mail (southietrees1@gmail.com) to introduce yourself!

Looking forward to an exciting few months!

Maggie

 

This past week I had the opportunity to attend the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Warsaw, Poland. There I attended side events and watched as more than 170 nations worked together to create a treaty that could turn the tide on human-induced climate change.

This is the 19th Conference on Progress, or COP19, after which the UN only has two more years to make a formulated decision.

COP19 High Minister Session, Tuesday 15 minutes before the start!

Trees took center stage as a success story coming out of COP19 with the REDD+ program, a program to limit deforestation through financial incentive to prevent logging, conversion of forestland to agriculture and pastureland, and fire prevention.

 

Not surprisingly, Trees are an extremely effective way to combat Climate Change, but the rate at which we are planting trees is being outpaced by the amount of trees we cut down each year, causing more damage to the climate than helping.

Coming out of COP19 I was able to meet with an organization called Plant for the Planet working to plant a trillion trees by 2020. To do this they sell fair trade organic chocolate;  every three bars sell provides a tree to plant.

Plant for the Planet, founded by an 8 year old is now a global organization with more than 50+ chapters and their chocolate bar is the #1 fair trade chocolate sold in Germany.

Does this sound like something Southie Trees should do? Let us know in the comments!

 

Kate Brown and Amy Glynn are residents of Thomas Park, a historic street in South Boston that circles Dorchester Heights National Park.  They are part of a group of neighbors determined to preserve the majestic leafy beauty of their tree-lined street.  On the chopping block is a 150-year old English elm that predates the construction of the Dorchester Heights monument in 1902.

“We had no idea what we were in for when we first decided to fight the tree removal,” Kate told me this weekend.  “When we began this process in May, we thought that our challenge was a neighbor who requested a curb cut for a driveway, but it turned out that our biggest obstacle has been the city of Boston itself.” 

After the city failed to hold a tree hearing that met published standards and numerous calls to various city departments went unanswered, the neighborhood group felt that the city wasn’t listening to them.  The advocates commissioned a tree assessment from an independent arborist which concluded that the tree was healthy.  They filed a Freedom of Information Act to follow a paperwork trail that led through seven different city departments who deal with curb cuts.  Finally, they filed a lawsuit against the city for an injunction against the removal of the tree.

On September 20th, a Superior Court judge issued a permanent injunction preventing the tree from being removed by the city.  Unfortunately, the city has decided to continue to oppose the wishes of the concerned neighbors.  On October 18th, the city filed a notice that they plan to appeal the judge’s decision. 

After seven months and hundreds of hours of volunteer labor, along with investment of financial resources, the advocates and their attorney (who has been working pro bono) are exhausted and discouraged.  “It shouldn’t be this hard for us to engage with the city on important issues such as protecting heritage trees, Amy concluded.  “This tree provides a public benefit that goes way beyond aesthetics.  The services it provides, such as cooling, noise abatement, flood control and air cleaning are valuable.  This tree would be very difficult to replace, no matter how many new trees are planted.” 

 

Fall 2013 Plant-A-Tree Participants

 

This past Saturday we continued one of our most successful programs, Plant-A-Tree. More than a dozen community members signed up to receive a free tree.

Since beginning at Southie Trees in July, this was one of the greatest work experiences I had. Everyone was so appreciative of their new trees, and participants were eager to learn how to properly plant their trees for continued survival. This hands-on event not only provided us with the opportunity to teach and provide for the South Boston community, but also create future habitats for the urban ecosystem.

One of the trees was a little…big.

 

A special thank you to the Gate of Heaven Church, for providing the space and parking to have the event, as well as Donna Brown, Executive Director of South Boston Neighborhood Development Corporation, our fiscal sponsor, and Phoebe Flemming, Executive Director of South Boston Grows, for assisting in running the planting workshop.

An additional thank you for everyone who took the time to participate!

 

Your Southie Trees Program Coordinator,

Devon Grodkiewicz

 

Spotlight:

Amy Glynn
 Familiar with toeing the rules, Amy Glynn has become one of the unsung heroes for tree protection and advocacy in Southie.

Working as a consultant for managing pension funds, Amy assists in helping these funds avoid investments that might create a conflict of interest or break one of the many complex rules of fund management.

Thus when she was contacted by Kate Brown, a neighbor up the street concerned about a tree cut, it was only natural for her to see if the rules were being followed.

A restraining order against the city and two tree hearings later, the situation is still unresolved. Amy, Kate Brown and a group of community leaders including Chris Soule from the Dorchester Heights Tree Association, and attorney Joseph Gregory  have banded together in an effort to save a 150-year old tree at 60 Thomas Park. The group is now preparing to face the city in a court battle this Thursday to decide whether or not the tree should, or should not be cut down.

To learn more or get involved please reach out to Amy Glynn at aglynn@pension-resources.com or Southie Trees at SouthieTrees1@gmail.com.

Devon Grodkiewicz

 

Hello Southie Tree-ers!

I am excited to announce that Plant-A-Tree applications for Fall 2013 have gone live! Submit yours by September 30th to be considered for the program! To find out more download our application at the bottom of this post or stop by 365 West Broadway to pick up a paper copy.

Save the Date! Saturday, September 14th

It will be a day marked by closed streets and festivities as the South Boston Street Festival takes place! Join us or stop by and say hello! I look forward to see you there!

Let’s get planting Southie!

 Devon Grodkiewicz

Plant-A-TreeApplication2013 (3)

 

In the last year, 70% of all development projects in the city of Boston have taken place in one area of the city: South Boston. As a result, green space has become a prime concern for local environmental advocates. Last thursday I had the opportunity to discuss some of these issues at a Planet Southie Meeting, a monthly environmental group meet up.

 Located in the Distillery Building, we sat in a small circle of folding chairs surrounded by vibrantly colored local artwork.

After a roundtable introduction we dove right into business, discussing the events surrounding the recent tree cut on East 4th Street. Our discussion found the need for greater responsibility on the developers part to promote and create more public green space rather than less and use tree cuts as last resorts rather than first options.

Bill Gleason from the West Broadway Neighborhood Association proposed an interesting alternative, called “A Good-Neighbor Agreement,” that we are now working to implement. This agreement would help to connect the vision of future green space that communities in South Boston so desperately need with development plans.

In order to understand what this vision is we need community input. What is your vision of future green space in South Boston? Let us know by leaving a comment or emailing Southie Trees at SouthieTrees1@gmail.com.

 

This week I had my first encounter with the difficulties of tree preservation in South Boston. It began last Friday when I was contacted by a resident concerned about a tree removal on East 4th Street. The tree in question was not diseased or in any way unhealthy, it was, however, in the way of a proposed development project.

 

With the tree hearing already a few days past, I organized a petition and encouraged residents to contact the parks and recreation department to voice their opposition.

 

Less than 72 hours into the start of our opposition effort, the tree was felled. I hope the haste with which the tree was felled was not as a result of  growing opposition but a decision made to benefit the greater welfare and environment of the surrounding community.

 

Though an unfortunate event, I hope this is can be used as an opportunity to strengthen community ties to green space issues as well as be a launching point for dialogue with the city of boston on tree removal policy.

 

If you are interested in learning more I encourage you to attend the next Planet Southie meeting where we will be discussing green space issues and more on August 22nd from 6:30-7:30pm at The Distillery, 516 E 2nd Street, South Boston. You can find out more at Planet Southie’s website here.

 

Your Southie Trees Program Coordinator,

Devon Grodkiewicz