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Wilmington Renewing Its ‘Tree City USA’ Status — Should Tewksbury Follow Suit?

In 2021, the National Arbor Day Foundation designated Wilmington as a “Tree City” through the Tree City USA program. Towns are eligible; a community does not need to be chartered as a city.

“This award helps recognize Wilmington for the many efforts and investments made by various departments in tree care, tree conservation, and urban forestry planning,” said  Jamie Magaldi, Operations Manager of the Wilmington Department of Public Works and Town Tree Warren.

Wilmington joined Andover, Chelmsford, Lowell and Wakefield in earning the recognition by demonstrating proactive efforts in tree management. For 2022, Wilmington is working to renew its designation, which was a primary goal of the town’s Open Space & Recreation Plan.

“Towns that receive a Tree City designation typically see their residents getting more involved in their own tree plantings and better appreciating the benefits trees provide, including cleaner air, increased property values, stormwater benefits and community spirit,” said Magaldi. 

To be eligible for the designation, a community must:

  • Have a tree board or department.
  • Have a tree care ordinance.
  • Spend at least $2 per capita on forestry. Wilmington spends $11 per capita on tree-related tools, equipment, contractual services and employees.
  • Pass an Arbor Day Ordinance and Proclamation.

All next week, the Wilmington Memorial Library is giving away 200 Canaan Fir seedlings, which are native to New England. Town residents can stop by the library to pick up seedlings while supplies lasts.  The tree seedling giveaway helps Wilmington maintain its Tree City status. Towns receive a large flag, two large signs and a plaque to acknowledge this designation.

The Massachusetts Bureau of Forestry offers assistance for communities that wish to apply to become a Tree City USA. Challenge Grants can provide support for the development of management plans, tree committees or tree surveys and inventories. Sample ordinances, model proclamations and additional information is available to help the town design a program that meets Tree City USA standards.

One benefit, besides healthier air and more habitat for animals, is that the Urban and Community Forestry Program at the Department of Conservation and Recreation gives preference to grant applicants that are from Tree City USA communities.

Tewksbury would need to apply by Dec. 1.

Lorna is a 25-year resident of Tewksbury who has written for organizations ranging from the DIA to InformationWeek to a free weekly in New London that sent her to interview the pastry chef at Foxwoods.

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