In collaboration with the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) Urban and Community Forestry Program, Mayor Gary Christenson is pleased to announce Malden’s participation in the Greening the Gateway Cities Program (GGCP). The GGCP is an environmental and energy efficiency program funded by the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) and the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) and administered by the DCR Bureau of Forestry. This program was created with a goal to increase the number of trees planted in urban residential areas of the Massachusetts Gateway Cities. It’s also designed to reduce household heating and cooling energy use by increasing tree canopy cover in urban residential areas, while improving the aesthetic appearance of these neighborhoods.
GGCP is based on current research, which includes on-the-ground tree and energy measurements in Worcester and other northern climate cities. These studies show that tree canopy brings the greatest benefits when established over an entire neighborhood area, by lowering wind speeds and reducing summertime air temperature, in addition to the benefits of direct shading. All households in a neighborhood benefit, not just the ones with trees directly adjacent. The program targets the parts of Malden that have lower tree canopy, older housing stock, higher wind speeds, and a larger renter population. In addition, the plantings will be concentrated in Environmental Justice neighborhoods.
GGCP is currently active in Brockton, Chelsea, Chicopee, Fall River, Fitchburg, Haverhill, Holyoke, Lawrence, Leominster, Lowell, Lynn, New Bedford, Pittsfield, Quincy, Revere, Salem, Springfield and Westfield. This spring, five new communities were added with Malden being one of them. The aim for each city is to plant 2,400 trees over a three-year period.
The program plants trees (ranging from 6ft. to 10ft. tall) with a goal of covering 5% of the target neighborhoods in new tree canopy cover. The trees are planted by DCR Bureau of Forestry and Urban & Community Forestry crews hired from local communities. Within planted areas, temperature, energy use, and other information is tracked to document the energy savings new trees provide to residents over time.
To be eligible for this program’s benefits, the home or business must be located within the designated DCR planting zone. Residents who sign up to take part in the greening initiative receive advice on what type of tree or trees would be best for the property along with instructions on how to tend to the saplings on their way to becoming mature trees. Easy care instructions are provided that address watering, mulching and pruning. Foresters also conduct year-round site visits and are available to answer questions.
There will be informational sessions in the near future and further outreach to explain the process and alert residents of the program. For more information see https://www.maurbancanopy.org/ or call 617-826-5723.