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

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