With the Help of Volunteers, The Trustees Plant 113 Trees as Part of a Global Work Party

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Global Work Party 2010: Holyoke

The Trustees of Reservations kicked off a new floodplain forest restoration project at the Land of Providence reservation in Holyoke, funded in part by the Massachusetts Environmental Trust, with the help of a team of 30 volunteers on Sunday, October 10, 2010.

Along with staff members, the volunteers planted 113 sapling trees along the Connecticut River in just over two hours.

The date of the tree planting is significant because 10/10/10 was designated as a global day of service and climate change awareness by the organization 350.org in an effort to encourage individuals and businesses to cut their emissions by 10% in 2010. Founded by American environmentalist Bill McKibben, 350.org is an international campaign that works to build a global climate movement. It is named after the goal of reducing the concentration of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere from its current level of 390 parts per million to below 350 ppm, the safe upper limit according to the latest science. This year, around 7,700 projects took place on the same day across the globe. “The Trustees offer volunteer opportunities and environmental education throughout the year,” says Kate Preissler, Engagement Manager for the Trustees, “but we wanted to do something really special on this particular day as a sign of solidarity with the others all over the Earth who are combating climate change.”

Over the next year, The Trustees will be restoring approximately five acres of floodplain forest at the Land of Providence reservation in Holyoke. Restoring the floodplain forest will entail an extensive ecological survey of the property, which is currently underway, increasing the extent of the forest across the property to buffer the agricultural use, controlling non-native invasive species, and transplanting a mix of native species back into the forest.

In the past, floodplain forests have occupied large areas along the riverbanks of the Connecticut River, but they have become threatened due to development, invasive plants, and alterations of natural flood regimes. Floodplain forests occur along streams and rivers and are periodically flooded when these water bodies overflow their banks. Floodplain forests act as efficient water filters between land and river, making them especially important in urban areas such as Holyoke where rainwater runoff and pollutants too often reach the river without the benefit of filtration. Although the floodplain forest at Land of Providence is a type that is flooded very infrequently, its importance to the river is no less significant than one that floods annually. The Trustees will use the restoration of the small patch of floodplain forest at Land of Providence as a way to promote awareness about these special habitats, their dependence upon the river, and our dependence upon clean water and natural environments.

The restoration project has been funded by an award from the Massachusetts Environmental Trust. This year the Massachusetts Environmental Trust will provide more than $500,000 in grants to more than 30 organizations, thanks to motorists who choose to purchase one of the Trust’s specialty license plates. The Trust has become the Commonwealth’s premier environmental philanthropist since its inception in 1988. Its primary source of income is environmental license plate revenue, which has funded more than 400 grants totaling approximately $15 million.

Preserving environmental education, conservation, or public awareness efforts funded by the Trust in your community is easy. Simply choose one of three environmental license plates – the Right Whale & Roseate Terns, the Leaping Brook Trout, or the Blackstone Valley Mill – when you purchase a new car or renew your registration with the Registry of Motor Vehicles.