T4T Newsletter Letter from the Program Director

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1 T4T Newsletter 2018 Teens involved in this year s program include, from left to right: Ashley Mawanda, Dylan Hickey, Dominic Moon, Greg Venizelos, Andrew Hayek, Nathan Follett, Marissa Del Carman, John Shea and (seated) Noah Ferraresso and Jess MohdNazri. Missing is Joe Lessard. Letter from the Program Director by David Meshoulam on August 10 Time flies! Just six weeks ago many of the teens in the Teens for Trees program didn t know an oak from a maple or a honeylocust from an ash. Today, they are tree ambassadors - they worked daily under the hot sun learning about, caring for, and most importantly inventorying our town s street trees. I m so proud of their work, which you can see on our website at tfwteensfortrees.org or at opentreemap.org/watertownma. In this teen-produced newsletter you ll have the chance to read about some (but not all!) of our work and events. Thank you residents, foundations, and local companies for your support. And mainly, thank you teens for your contributions and for your hard work. It was a hot and humid summer out in the sun and even under the shade of the trees.

2 Gas leaks and Trees Teens with Bob Ackley (third from the left) and Nathan Phillips (fourth from left) by Greg Venizelos on August 07 On July 27th we met with Bob Ackley who measures natural gas and oxygen in the ground using extremely high tech equipment. When we met with him he showed us his van with all of the equipment that he uses to go around and measure gas that comes from pipelines under the ground that goes to people's houses. He showed us how his equipment worked by measuring a gas leak in front of a house on a street close to Watertown High School. Gas leaks from pipes underground can slowly kill a tree by lowering the amount of oxygen that a tree takes in from under the ground and replacing it with dangerous gas such as methane. When methane is released in the ground, oxygen that the tree needs will get replaced. This means that the roots suffocate. Unlike leaves that make oxygen, roots absorb oxygen from the ground. Gas leaks are not only dangerous to trees but to humans as well. 2

3 ABOUT OUR INVENTORY AND DATA Opentreemap Data vs. icanopy Data by Dylan Hickey on August 8 Over the summer we collected two different sets of data. The first set, using OpenTreeMap, allowed us to walk from street to street measuring and mapping every tree in between the sidewalk and street, as well as areas trees could possibly go. We we were able to collect data on the species after dedicating the first week of the program to learn common street trees. We also learned the proper ways to measure trees and their health from experts such as Libby Shaw, Peter Del Tredici, Julie Coop, and more. With places a tree could possibly go (also known as tree pits or empty planting sites) we marked the size of the tree pit, and physical characteristics such as existing tree stumps or wires above the pit. It gives us and the town more data on which areas need more trees or need new trees to replace dying ones and where they could plant new trees. The second set, using itree Canopy, was used by labeling 600 randomly generated points in each precinct as either permeable (grass or dirt), non permeable (roads, sidewalks, parking lots), buildings, water (Charles River, mainly), or trees on a satellite map that the program gave us. Using the data we collected gave us a more accurate canopy measurement because it includes private trees and trees in areas we wouldn t usually map using OpenTreeMap. This program however doesn t show the species or health of the trees giving us less overall data to analyze. 3

4 Precinct number OpenTreeMap data (What percentage of data points were street trees?) itree Canopy dat (What percentage of data points were tree canopy?) 3 ~47.1% ~21.9% 4 ~50.2% ~25.5% 7 ~57.6% ~23% 9 ~31.5% ~30.6% 11 ~34.2% ~16.9% Into the Woods: A Collaboration with WCT by Liana Rice on August 08 The highlights of this summer for me was the field trips we went on. We went on several, but I had the most fun when we went to see the Watertown Children s Theatre production of Into the Woods. We were given the opportunity to help out with the set and I was especially excited about this because I have been doing shows at WCT since I was younger so it was cool to be back. A few days before the show, I went to WCT to help put the set together and paint some of the trees for the set. On the first day, Monday, July 30th, I met with the director of the show, Meghan Hill. I brought up pieces of wood and trees that were already painted from previous shows, and then sketched out some of the ideas I had for the set for Meghan to pass along to the set designer. I met Jackie, the set designer the next day and she had me paint long pieces of wood for the trunks of the trees on set. We were painting backstage so I had the chance to see my friends rehearsing on stage and say hi when they were offstage! For the next 2 days I continued to paint and create trees for the set. 4

5 Friday, August 3, was the performance. Four of us including David, met an hour before the show and set up a table educate the audience about trees and inform them about our program. Right before the show, David and I said a few words before the show summarizing our program and advertising the raffle we were holding during intermission. We all enjoyed the show immensely. VHB by Marissa Del Carmen on August 6th VHB is a company that engineers, plans and designs landscapes. They have decided to sponsor us and we took a visit to their office this summer. We taught workers there how to add and measure trees onto the itree Map app. We also sat down for a meeting with them to discuss our work and they were very interested, supportive and helpful to our program. We love the people at VHB and plan to continue working with them in the future. 5

6 Canoeing on the Charles by Liana Rice on August 07 Another field trip we went on was towards the beginning of the program. On July 10th, we went canoeing along the Charles River. Jan Singer, Executive Director of The Watertown Community Foundation joined us for this trip. We started at the boat dock near Watertown square and ended at the Allston/Brighton Dock. It was hot, without the shade, but David would often bring us to the edges of the river where it was shady and taught us about the different species of trees we found along the river. Field Trip to Arnold Arboretum by Nurin Jeslina Mohd Nazri on August 07 On Tuesday, July 31, we visited Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University located in the Jamaica Plain and Roslindale sections of Boston, Massachusetts along with a group of ECO youth from a program called NOAH which stands for Neighborhood Of Affordable Housing in East Boston. We took the 71 bus from Watertown Square to Harvard Station and took the Red Line Train to Downtown Crossing to change to the Orange Line Train to Forest Hills Station. From Forest Hills Station we walked about 30 minutes to the Arnold Arboretum. We received a relaxing tour of the Arboretum to learn about the amazing collection of trees the Arboretum has. We saw many tree species that we easily recognized such as Honeylocust, Lindens, and Maples. We also saw many other tree species that we haven t seen in the streets before such as smoke trees and dogwoods. 6

7 After the tour ended, we learned how to pressed leaves and create dried specimens for research at the Herbarium of the Arnold Arboretum. We got to see a collection of herbarium which are dried specimens of leaves and plants that preserve genetic information, provide data on historical flowering and fruiting times, and play a vital role in understanding evolutionary relationships among plants, their geographic distributions, and their economic uses. Established in 1872, the Herbarium of the Arnold Arboretum contains approximately 1.5 million specimens housed in repositories across Harvard University. Trip to the Museum of Natural History by Joe Lessard on August 07 On Monday July 23rd Teens for Trees went to the Museum of Natural History and looked at the Glass Flowers. The Glass Flowers Exhibit has leaves, flowers and fruit that are literally made of glass and it looked so realistic despite the fact that they re just glass sculptures that are well detailed. One of the leaves is the ginkgo leaf. There are 4000 models of glass plants and fruit in the exhibit which was made by Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka in I found it like realistic and cool. After half a hour we wandered around the museum and looked at the stuff the museum has like bones from prehistoric times and artifacts from ancient times. After going around the museum we went to some restaurants nearby and ate lunch at those restaurants. 7

8 Mt. Auburn Cemetery by Noah Ferraresso on August 07 The easiest way to identify a tree type is to look at the gold platinum metal tags hanging from nails on the bark. Jim Gorman was absolutely both supportive and typical for T4T, especially for an autistic student like me. But for someone like David, Jim can always be for a school group who knows about the environment extremely well after learning, reading and writing many times about it. One fun element that Jim pointed out about trees is that any kind of type or species is not only unique, but to also study the shape of a leaf s edge. 8

9 SELECTED POEMS ABOUT TREES Art Class by X.J. Kennedy A Small Needful Fact by Ross Gay Ms. Beecher said I don t know how To make a lifelike tree. Well, all I did was look and draw How branches looked to me. I know what you re supposed to do You make a Y, and sitting On both its arms another two Y s. Make them go on splitting. I went and looked up at a bough With bark like scraped black leather, And neither does a tree know how To fit a tree together. Is that Eric Garner worked for some time for the Parks and Rec. Horticultural Department, which means, perhaps, that with his very large hands, perhaps, in all likelihood, he put gently into the earth some plants which, most likely, some of them, in all likelihood, continue to grow, continue to do what such plants do, like house and feed small and necessary creatures, like being pleasant to touch and smell, like converting sunlight into food, like making it easier for us to breathe. Thank you to our extensive network of supporters, including the generous residents of Watertown and the following major corporate donors: 9

10 Individual Donors American Elm Level - $500 and up Carolyn G. Mugar Shanta Puchtler & Nobuko Maruyama ( matching funds ) Paul Tamburello ( matching funds in honor of Adelaide Sproul ) Helen and Philip McElroy ( in honor of Adelaide Sproul ) Sycamore Level $100 - $499 Committee to Elect Will Brownsberger William and Anna Clark Robert and Sally Collini Anthony J Donato Gina Foglia Lynn Goldsmith Jonathan Hecht & Lora Sabin Eileen Hsu-Balzer Liza Ketchum Charlo Maurer Barbara Pearlman Libby Shaw & Jim Bredt Rick Thomson & Judi Wineland Mount Auburn Athletic Club Watertown Citizens for Peace, Justice & the Environment 3 Additional Donors Linden Level $50 - $99 Sarah Bansen & Dan Grossman Patrick and Monica Fairbairn Meredith A. Fields Jane S Holden Shirley Lundberg Councilor Tony Palomba Joshua and Jessica Pederson Anthony A Palomba & Ann F Munson Ruth Thomasian Joel Rosenberg & Carol Tierney Bob Weintraub 4 Additional Donors Birch Level $25-$49 Patricia Ahern Carol Airasian Elizabeth and Jason Del Porto David Breakstone & Sharon Bauer Susan Falkoff Mishy Lesser Eric Masunaga & Erin McLaughlin Eileen Ryan & Guy Holt Martha Scott & David Morrison 5 Additional Donors Maple Level $11 - $24 Sharon Schumack & Michael Luckens Gingko Level $10 Anita Roy Dobbs Alice Holt Angeline B. Kounelis 2 Additional Donors In-Kind Donations From: Coolidge Hardware Deluxe Town Diner Dizin FruttiBerri Panera Bread A. Russo and Sons 10