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Tewksbury Marks Arbor Day With New Tree City Status, Planting at Center Elementary School

Residents Susan Young and Al Mancini worked with town staff to earn designation

Tewksbury celebrated being named a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation with a ceremony Friday at the Center Elementary School and planting of three native trees. 

The event was a group effort: The Center Elementary School PAC purchased the trees, with guidance from the Tewksbury Garden Club. The town covered the planters and installation. CES students will care for and water the trees.

“We at the Center School are really thrilled to be able to host this event for our community,” said CES Principal Jay Harding.

TPS Superintendent Brenda Regan with Young and students who participated in the planting ceremony.
TPS Superintendent Brenda Regan with Young and students who participated in the planting ceremony.

Tewksbury achieved Tree City USA recognition by meeting the program’s four requirements: Maintaining a tree board or department, having a tree care ordinance, dedicating an annual community forestry budget of at least $2 per capita and hosting an Arbor Day observance and proclamation signed by the Select Board at its December 20 meeting. 

The effort was spearheaded by residents Al Mancini and Susan Young, a Tewksbury Garden Club member, with assistance from Town Manager Richard Montuori, former DPW Director Brian Gilbert and current Director Kevin Hardiman. Tewksbury joins Andover, Chelmsford, Lowell and Wilmington in being named a Tree City USA.

The town chose to celebrate with our youngest residents who will benefit in the future; earlier, members of the Garden Club distributed balsam fir saplings to the third-graders, as it has for about 40 years.

“The children chose these trees,” said Young. There is a flowering dogwood, a pussy willow — which Young admits may be more of a shrub than a tree — and an American eastern redbud.

School Committee members Bridget Garabedian, Kayla Biagioni-Smith and Rich Russo attended, along with Select Board member Jayne Wellman, TPS Superintendent Brenda Regan, Assistant Superintendent Lori McDermott, CES Principal Jay Harding, town staff and members of the Tewksbury Garden Club.

“As a history teacher, I like making history, and I believe this is a very big event for Tewksbury,” said Mancini, a frequent advocate for preserving trees. “I look forward to many years in the future honoring Arbor Day by planting trees.”

Susan Young, Jayne Wellman, Kevin Hardiman and Al Mancini pose for photo
Susan Young, Jayne Wellman, Kevin Hardiman and Al Mancini. Wellman read the Select Board proclamation.

The Tree City USA program is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation, in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters. 

“Tree City USA communities see the positive effects of an urban forest firsthand,” said Dan Lambe, chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation. “The trees being planted and cared for by Tewksbury are ensuring that generations to come will enjoy a better quality of life.”

Additionally, participation in this program brings residents together and creates a sense of civic pride, whether it’s through volunteer engagement or public education.

CES Principal Jay Harding explained that the children selected the trees and will care for them on an ongoing basis.
CES Principal Jay Harding explained that the children selected the trees and will care for them on an ongoing basis.

“If ever there was a time for trees, now is that time,” said Lambe. “Communities worldwide are facing issues with air quality, water resources, personal health and well-being, energy use, and extreme heat and flooding. Tewksbury is doing its part to address these challenges for residents both now and in the future.”

Any city or town can be a Tree City USA. Tewksbury will receive a flag, road signs and a plaque. In addition, 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.

For communities that surpass basic Tree City USA standards, the Growth Award recognizes exceptional growth and imagination in community forestry.

Garden Club members Susan Young, Tricia Keddie and Yvonne Hall pose for photo
Garden Club members Susan Young, Patricia Keddie and Yvonne Hall
buckets of soil that children spread on the trees.
The children were given buckets of soil to spread on the trees.

Lorna is a U.S. Army veteran and 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.


  1. Joseph Joseph April 29, 2023

    Excellent. Thank you.

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