Tag Archives: ALB

Springtime … new beginnings for Green Hill Park … and humankind?

By Edith Morgan

On March 20th, the calendar said that spring begins in these parts and, after a winter to remember, we watched as the mountains of snow slowly melted down;  again the roads were wide enough for two cars to pass, the pavement showed gray and black and passable, crews were out filling in the cracks and potholes left by the winter.

I live two houses down from Green Hill Park, and for over two weeks I heard the roar of heavy equipment: sawing and chipping and hauling away the wooded cover on the hill, leaving a few skinny trees, with daylight filtering through where before there was dense forest growth.

Muddy ruts and stumps mark the hillside, making the area look like a war zone.

But I have lived near the park long enough to know that Mother Nature is not so easily stopped.

While the habitat of this generation’s wildlife (the voles, skunks, squirrels, coyotes, wild turkeys – myriad other animals, small and large) have lost their homes and their cover, in two or three decades, the devastated hillsides will once again sport trees.

The old meadow on Denmark Street where we picked wild blueberries and strawberries so long ago, which was overrun by trees, is now once again nearly bare. But spring is here, and nature abhors a vacuum and will soon replant itself. Hopefully, the birds and wildlife will return, as they have so many time before, despite human depredations. And so, I am hopeful, and will go out and look for signs of life when the last snow is gone and the mud dries.

This is the season of spring holidays. We celebrate Passover and Easter at this time: both are festivals of new beginnings, celebrating the coming of the new and hopefully better beginnings for humans, at a time when nature is also coming back to life all around us.

Worcester does a big cleanup called Earth Day on Saturday, April 18!

Spring housecleaning is a yearly ritual. Jews clean for Passover, remove leavened foods, change to special dishes and, in a great many ways, remember and celebrate the exodus from slavery in Egypt three millennia ago by recalling the suffering of those days and celebrating the ultimate arrival in the promised land.

Christians celebrate the return of Jesus risen from the grave, and everywhere are seen the symbols of rebirth – the eggs, the flowers, chicks and bunnies for the children, and a spirit of renewal and hope pervades us all.

But as I look around our country, our world, I see too many people still mired in the winter of war, poverty, hatred and fear. Too many are still enslaved by their addictions, their hatreds and their irrationalities. How great it would be if this season of hope and appreciation for what we have could spread like a great contagion and envelop our world. Could the dove of peace have a chance to survive the constant assault of the hawks, eagles and vultures filling our skies?

I wish all our InCity Times readers joyous beginnings at this time! Happy Passover and Happy Easter to all!

They’re back! Asian Long-horned beetle meeting Feb. 5! Be there!

By Edith Morgan

Coming home January 13, I was met by a couple of young people with flyers and clipboard in hand,  who were canvassing my neighborhood to inform all of us “abutters” about an informational meeting at the Green Hill Golf Course Club House at 6 p.m. on February 5.

The meeting is about “the scheduled tree cutting”  due to be performed in our area .

It came from the Massachusetts  ALB Cooperative Eradication Program, 151 West Boylston Drive, Worcester MA 01606 (phone number 508-852-8090).

A paragraph of legal citations from Massachusetts General laws appears to justify the use of “all lawful means of suppressing, controlling and eradicating ALB , including affixing signs to and removing or causing to be removed, and the destruction thereof all Regulated Articles within the affected area  that are, may be, or have potential to be infested or infected by ALB.  The flyer closes with a contact name and number, should we have questions or concerns about the work being done : we can contact Ford Wykoff, DCR Forester, at 508-422-6032.

Stapled to this sheet is a full-page aerial map of the area, with three areas outlined in red , called the “Management Area, Worcester Parcel.”

My home is just two houses away from the westernmost area, running along Denmark Street and Green Hill Park.

Most of us who live on this side of Worcester have already seen over the last few years the devastation the “eradication “ program has wrought on Burncoat Street, Dodge Park,  and elsewhere.

Yes, we have replanted tens of thousands of trees which will in twenty or thirty years replace the great, mature trees that were taken down.

But now the funds for that replacement program are used up, but we face another round of cutting.

Aside from the immediate destruction, which is very obvious,  several things bother me: First, I am always very nervous, to say the least, when any branch of government speaks of ERADICATING anything. As a refugee from Nazi Germany, talk of government eradication programs always perk up my ears. Second, I never got satisfactory answers to my many questions about the program in the  first place: Why did we stop the chemical applications, and was the chemical we used at first the only possible one (there was talk about its possible effect on bees, and its reaching our ground water supply.)

I am sorry to say that I have not had the time to research what has been done in other nations to curb the ALB elsewhere in the world. There have been infestations in China and Europe. Since the beetle was here at least 10 years before it was discovered, what is the great hurry to “eradicate” it immediately? Since in nature there are few species who do not have natural enemies, could control measures include propagating natural enemies?

Has any other nation found a way to isolate, control, or even reverse the effects of this creature?

Or are we doomed to repeat our experience with the Dutch Elms, and merely to wait for the next biological attack on our environment?

At least we have learned one valuable lesson; we are no longer planting “monocultures” – all one kind of tree.

While that may have been cheaper and easier in the short run, it certainly has been very costly in the long run.

Let’s think about that –and attend this February 5 meeting!

From the Worcester Tree Initiative …

Fruit Tree Guards: Keep rodents and deer away!

Even in Worcester rodents and deer can destroy fruit trees.  Fruit tree wood is a tasty treat in the middle of winter.  If your trees are planted close to a wooded area, you may want to install tree guards like the ones used on the top of Newton Hill. To make: Simply cut plastic pipes and wire them closed to prevent girdling of trees.

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Worcester Fun Fact

….”According to one map of Worcester in 1776, a huge, old elm grew at the corner of today’s Main and Pleasant Streets – a tree so respected it was left standing as the town developed roads around it; hence, the reason, though the elm is long gone, why Pleasant is slightly offset from Front Street.” – Evelyn Herwitz

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UPCOMING WINTER EVENTS

JANUARY

ORCHARDS WORKSHOP (Part II):

Saturday, Jan 24

11:30 am – 1:30 pm in the Saxe Room at the Worcester Public Library, Salem Square

QUINSIGAMOND VILLAGE MEETING:

Wednesday, January 21

8 am – 9 am at Ameripride Corporation at 280 Greenwood St.

MARCH
FRUIT TREE PRUNING:

Saturday, March 14

10:30 am at 27 Oread Place

From the Worcester Tree Initiative and REC

Adopt a Tree!

The City of Worcester wants to plant trees for you! They have the Private Property Tree Adoption Program which allows you to request that a tree be planted in your yard.

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The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation wants to plant trees in your yard for you! To be eligible you must live in the federally delineated ALB quarantine zone which includes all of Worcester, Boylston, West Boylston, Shrewsbury and parts of Holden and Auburn.

Not sure if you live in the quarantine zone?Call their office at (508) 852-8073 and they will check for you.

Their foresters will come to your house to give you an expert recommendation of what to plant based on what you want!

This is an incredible offer!

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Regional Environmental Council (REC)

Growing Community Since 1971

Be a Part of a Global Day of Giving and Support REC for #GivingTuesday!

Dear Members and Supporters of REC,

As we prepare to give thanks for all the good things in our lives and dive into the holiday season, please consider giving back this year with a gift to the REC for Giving Tuesday. We have one day each year set aside to give thanks, followed by two for getting deals. Let’s restore the balance with a day for generosity. Giving Tuesday is a global day dedicated to giving back. On Tuesday, December 2, 2014, charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world will come together with a common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give.

Your support of REC this year is an investment in our community that promises record growth in 2015. This spring, your donation will help us:

Grow over 5,000 seedlings for community and school gardens across the city;

Provide affordable and accessible produce across the city through our Mobile and Main South Farmers Markets;

Train and employ 34 young leaders in our YouthGROW program;

And clean our streets through our Annual Earth Day Clean Ups!

But, perhaps more important, is your donation’s long term impact. Seedlings planted this spring will continue to bear fruit throughout next year. The nourishment local produce provides will help a child grow strong and healthy. A young person whose mind has been opened up to ideas of social and environmental justice will go on to become an advocate for change in the world. Residents bonded together over cleaning their shared street will work together to bring resources to their neighborhood.

Plant a seed of change and hope with a gift today and join us as we work to grow a better tomorrow!

Sincerely,

Steve Fischer

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Order your YouthGrow Thanksgiving pies!

These pies are beautiful, delicious and made with lots of food justice love!

Buy one for Thanksgiving dinner and one to enjoy later on … because they’re that yummy!

Get your Thanksgiving Pie from your favorite food justice organization! 

YOUTHGROW PIES are organic, local apple pies made from scratch!

Pick up or delivery of unbaked apple pies on Monday, November 24.

You bake it fresh for Thanksgiving morning!

All-butter crust or vegan on request for the low price of $20 per pie.

Email youthgrow@recworcester.org to place your order today!

The Blackstone Headwaters Tree Project

EPA Awards $25,000 for Blackstone Headwaters Tree Project  

A Healthy Communities Grant from the federal Environmental Protection Agency will go to the Blackstone Headwaters Coalition and partnering organization the Worcester Tree Initiative, for their “Stormwater Benefit of Trees” project.  This project will engage residents of two Worcester neighborhoods to reduce flooding and stormwater impacts to Worcester’s waterways and the Blackstone River.  One hundred trees will be planted, split between the Main South and Quinsigamond Village neighborhoods; education and outreach will be provided on the benefits of trees, water quality information, and the impact of stormwater on water quality.

Other project partners include the Main South Community Development Corporation (MSCDC),  the Quinsigamond Village Community Center (QVCC) and the City of Worcester Department of Public Works and Parks.  

“I’m so pleased that the EPA has recognized this project as a dynamic partnership that will have lasting impacts on environmental justice neighborhoods and on the Blackstone and its headwater tributaries,” said Congressman Jim McGovern.  “Out of 70 submissions, this is one of only 14 community-based projects funded by the grant.  That speaks to the great work being done in Central Massachusetts.”

Following extensive outreach efforts, interested residents will pick from a list of available and recommended trees to plant as either street trees or private trees.  As Worcester is in the Asian Longhorned Beetle quarantine zone, no ALB host species will be included in the available species to be planted list. Recipients of the trees will receive a) one-on-one training on how to plant and care for the tree(s); b) educational  information about how trees help reduce localized flooding and stormwater volume into the storm sewer and thereby help the Blackstone River; c) general information about water quality and the impact of stormwater on water quality; d) an understanding of Worcester’s waterways including the lakes and ponds where they swim, the Blackstone River and its watershed e) benefits that trees bring to an urban neighborhood including shade, reduction of energy costs, stress reduction, reduction of heat island effect; f) other stormwater best management practices such as picking up dog poop, redirecting down spouts, washing vehicles on vegetated areas, etc.

The Blackstone Headwaters Coalition strives to engage citizens, businesses, environmental organizations, and municipal and state officials in the active stewardship of water resources in headwater streams of the Blackstone River.