NEWBURYPORT — State Sen. Kathleen O’Connor Ives, D-Newburyport, and state Rep. Michael A. Costello, D-Newburyport, have announced that the state Department of Conservation and Recreation and the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs have awarded urban forest grants to Newburyport area-based Northeast Urban Forest Advocacy.
Two grants, in the amounts of $6,500 and $15,000, were awarded for the group’s proposed projects, “Building Better Citizen Advocacy Through Education and Training,” and “Newburyport Fall 2013 Volunteer Inventory.”
NUFA executive director Jeff Esche said, “We at Northeastern Urban Forest Advocacy are grateful for the grants and look forward to the real payoff, when we know that our volunteers are happily doing work that they know is meaningful, that they are learning about trees and the urban forest and that the lessons will have an impact on the future of our environment.”
The first grant, “Building Better Citizen Advocacy Through Education and Training,” will be used for a tree inventory, a process of tree identification, recording location, site and tree conditions for the purposes of managing those trees’ health and the safety of people and property. NUFA has recruited volunteer partners from area schools, colleges and individuals for this effort.
The second grant, “Newburyport Fall 2013 Volunteer Inventory” establishes “mini-grants” to pay program costs for participating volunteers, educational partners, city officials and employees engaged in work impacting their communities’ urban forest and to attend educational events and courses relevant to good urban forest practices. Participants will also participate in volunteer projects.
The awarded funds are from the USDA Forest Service and the Mass ReLeaf Trust and are intended to support projects that will re-plant lost shade trees near power lines and generate urban forest citizen stewardship in a wide range of communities.
“Jeff Esche and members of Northeast Urban Forest Advocacy are doing important work to ensure that cities and towns maintain their urban forests because these trees improve everyone’s quality of life by enhancing the visual environment and improving air quality,” O’Connor Ives said in a statement.
“Our local advocacy team under Jeff Esche’s leadership has worked over the years with the Department of Conservation and Recreation to secure funding for Newburyport’s urban forest,” Costello said in a statement. “This project is even more successful because it involves engaging local students. Their planting efforts will improve our community for generations to come.”