Friday, November 26, 2010

This Week's Friday Update: Opportunities to Plug Into a Greener South Boston

Check out this week's update! Many ways to plug in.

Next Planet Southie Meeting is Monday, December 27 from 6:30-7:30 pm. Location: South Boston Branch Library, 646 East Broadway. Everyone is welcome at Planet Southie!

From a mosaic in the garden alongside Thomas Park. The work at the Garden at Thomas Park was done by Medicine Artists and Youth. The Project is called "No Man's Land Our Common Path Moving Beyond Diversity to Inclusion." Learn about Medicine Wheel Productions at

Friday, November 5, 2010

Time to Plug In Southie! Our Friday Update.

It is Friday, at last! Please read the update and check out all of the great opportunities to build a greener Southie. Then plug in! It doesn't really matter where you start...

Next Planet Southie Meeting is Monday, November 22 from 6:30-7:30 pm. Location: South Boston Branch Library, 646 East Broadway. Everyone is welcome at Planet Southie!

43 East and West Broadway Stores Sign Litter Pledge

Below is a draft of a letter that the South Boston Youth Ambassadors plan to send to the South Boston Chamber of Commerce.

To: The South Boston Chamber of Commerce
From: The South Boston Youth Ambassadors
Re: October 10 Broadway Clean Up and Shopkeeper Litter Pledges

Dear Chamber Members,

Thank you for inviting us to share more information about our work. Here is one example. On Sunday, October 10, Youth Ambassadors participated in a Broadway littler clean-up spanning the Broadway T station to L Street. Additional participants included over 15 other South Boston residents (including Sister Susan Morris, members of the West Broadway Neighborhood Association and members of the neighborhood volunteer group Planet Southie).

As you know, we have been doing West and East Broadway beautification and clean-ups for quite some time. We are continually saddened and frustrated to see that as soon as we clean up a sidewalk, new trash appears a moment later. It feels especially sad when we see trash littering one of the tree beds that we have just worked to clean, weed, plant and mulch. We share this frustration at our weekly Youth Ambassadors meetings. At a recent meeting we wrote a simple pledge for shopkeepers to sign. The pledge states the following:

I pledge that I will take responsibility to remove the debris in front of my store.

We did not know what to expect from shopkeepers in response. While some of us were cleaning up the sidewalks on October 10, some of us visited each shop along West and East Broadway between the Broadway T station and L Street. We teamed up with adults (like Sister Susan) and entered each store. Once there, we explained what we were doing and politely asked if there was a manager available who might be able to sign the pledge. We were thrilled and surprised by the positive response. Employees at 43 stores signed the pledge. Please note that some stores have been unable to sign the pledge yet because they were not open that morning.* They are (in no particular order):
  1. Broadway Dunkin Donuts
  2. News Broadway
  3. Blue Tierra Chocolate Café
  4. Burger King
  5. Shell
  6. Shenanigans
  7. Figaro’s
  8. Bailey’s Too
  9. Café Broadway
  10. Queen Spa
  11. Schuberts
  12. Donut Donuts
  13. Hub Video
  14. The Playwright
  15. Drogan’s Ice Cold Beer
  16. Terrie’s Place
  17. Cranberry Café
  18. Rite Aid
  19. Boston Beer Garden
  20. Metro PCS
  21. Nick’s Pizza
  22. The Blackthorn
  23. 7-11
  24. Lee Chen’s
  25. McGoo’s Pizzeria
  26. Amsterdam Café
  27. Gaelic Day Spa Salon
  28. Three Clover Pizza
  29. Tedeschi’s
  30. Pat’s Trattoria
  31. South Boston Chinese
  32. Radio Shack
  33. Land of Pizza
  34. Gulf
  35. Doughboy Donuts
  36. District Six Police Station
  37. J & J Discount Mini Mart
  38. Kim’s Market
  39. Broadway Pizza
  40. Edible Arrangements
  41. Broadway Lock Co.
  42. Motivated Fitness
  43. Dewberry Dogs
Above is a photo of some of us with the Playwright manager while he signs our pledge. Please let us know if you have any questions or would like to learn more. We would like to explore ways to collaborate with the South Boston Chamber of Commerce in our ongoing efforts to build a cleaner community for all of us to share and feel proud of.


The South Boston Youth Ambassadors

* Any store wishing to make the pledge is welcome to email to do so and will then be added to the list.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Planet Southie Tree Action Team Update

11/9/10 Planet Southie Tree Action Team meeting: Tree Team co-coordinators Julie Gehring and Mike Kissenger will be holding an open steering meeting for the Tree Team.

What: Planet Southie Tree Action Team Steering Meeting
Where: Farragut House, 149 P Street, South Boston, MA
When: November 9, 7:30 PM
Why: To start a discussion and make initial plans for the Tree Action Team

Mike will be taking notes and will be sending them out for anyone who can’t make it. We’ll try to answer the following questions:
  • When is a good time to meet? (Monthly on Thursday evenings is currently the leading time slot)
  • What are good initial goals for adding trees in South Boston?
  • What obstacles will we need to overcome? 
  • Who else can we reach out to in the community?
If you cannot make it, but would like to contribute to the discussion, please send an email to Mike ( and we will be sure to raise your ideas at the meeting.

In this update (posted on 11/4/10):

1. Welcome
2. Strategic discussion and initial suggestions
3. Connecting and expanding the group

1. Welcome!

Welcome to our first update. First, I'd thank you for your interest. This team is the branch of Planet Southie rooted in helping Southie recover its tree cover. We definitely have our work cut out for us. South Boston is currently ranked 14th out of Boston's 16 neighborhoods in terms of tree canopy (if you were looking down from an airplane, you would see fewer leaves in Southie). The upside to this situation is that we also have more potential to increase our tree cover than any other neighborhood!

The tree gap impacts the community in a real way. Trees reduce air pollution and asthma rates. They keep streets and homes cool in the summer. Studies show big trees reduce crime and tree-lined streets discourage speeding. On top of all that, a mature tree can increase the value of a home by thousands of dollars!

I'd also like to thank Julie Gehring who has stepped up to co-coordinate. Julie and I will be meeting next Tuesday evening to discuss possibilities for the group. Once a time and location has been decided, we'll let everyone know.

2. Strategic Discussion

I'd like to invite you to join the discussion. To seed the conversation, here are a few questions:
  • How can we best get trees in the earth and keep them there?
  • What are some points of resistance we may run into?
  • Who else would be interested in seeing our plan bear fruit?
Below are some suggestions based on prior conversations. Please feel welcome to add your thoughts and make suggestions!

Stakeholders to connect with:
  • Landlords
  • Developers
  • Homeowners
  • Community groups
  • Organizations/businesses
  • Local, State, Federal Government
Recognize and confront challenges:
  • Leaf raking is a pain, especially for the elderly - maybe evergreens are a better option
  • Trees can get too big for small yards - small ornamental or dwarf fruit trees might be ideal here
  • Some people just don't want them

3. Connecting and expanding the group

If you or your friends or neighbors want to get involved, please have contact to be added to the Tree Action Team email list.

We are also looking for a monthly meeting time and location that will work for the group. If you would like to attend, please email with times in the evening that would work for you.

Thank you, Southie Trees!

Mike Kissinger
Tree Action Team Co-Coordinator