Free trees in Northampton, Amherst for Arbor Day

  • Planting a tree. Sabrina Fischlin

For the Gazette
Published: 4/26/2022 7:18:14 PM
Modified: 4/26/2022 7:16:45 PM

Northampton and Amherst residents itching to plant a tree on their property now have an opportunity to do so without buying one.

In celebration of Arbor Day on Friday, Northampton intends to hand out 600 free whip trees, an initiative designed to help improve the city’s urban tree canopy. The trees will be available to residents at City Hall on Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Meanwhile, in Amherst, Bartlett Tree Experts is giving out 500 sapling trees at Atkins Farms Country Market from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday.

“We give out tree saplings at least a few times each year at town block parties, Earth Day slash Arbor Day events, parades,” said Greg Beck, office manager at Bartlett Trees.

Beck says the company knows how important trees are, so handing someone a sapling will get “them thinking about the trees on their property.”

Northampton residents who participate in the 19th annual Arbor Day Tree Whip Giveaway can pick from six tree species: Douglas fir, white oak, American sweetgum, bald cypress, serviceberry and mulberry.

 The city said the species of tree whips it will hand out were selected because they provide important ecological benefits and resilience in the face of climate change. They also reduce stormwater runoff, provide food for wildlife and pollinators, reduce stress and air pollutants and create cooling for the warming planet.

Tree Northampton volunteers will staff the event and provide illustrated fact sheets containing information about planting, tree care, and noteworthy characteristics for each species.

The tree handout is part of a monthlong Arbor Day celebration that began on April 9 with a planting of 16 public shade trees on Greenleaf Drive and Hawthorne Terrace. A week later, on April 16, the Rotary Club, in coordination with the Northampton School Department, planted 30 trees at R.K. Finn Ryan Road Elementary School and Jackson Street School.

Additionally, the DPW, the Urban Forestry Commission and Tree Northampton volunteers have been planting public shade trees throughout April, with a large planting scheduled on Friday at Arcanum Field to mark Arbor Day.

In Holyoke, the Valley Opportunity Council will join with the Department of Conservation and Recreation and the Greening the Gateway Cities program to celebrate Arbor Day with a tree planting with children of the Churchill Early Education Center on Friday at 11 a.m. at Churchill Green and Franklin Street.

Later in the day at the same location, the Valley Opportunity Council will host an Arbor Day event at 5:30 p.m. for parents, families, and the larger community with snacks, crafts and prizes for kids.

The Gateway Cities program plants trees in a variety of neighborhoods throughout Massachusetts in identified Gateway Cities. Locally, Holyoke, Chicopee, and Westfield are part of this program and thousands of trees have been planted, for free, in these cities. Free trees are still available in these neighborhoods for homes and businesses. To learn more, visit www.maurbancanopy.org.


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