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Friday, January 08 2016

FRCOG Wins $30K Grant for Trees

Adapted from a Massachusetts Department of Conservation & Recreation (DCR) press release:

Yesterday, the Baker-Polito Administration announced $186,434 in Urban and Community Forestry Challenge Grants to 13 Massachusetts communities and non-profits, including the Franklin Regional Council of Governments (FRCOG).  These matching grants help increase a community's tree capacity in order to maximize social, economic, and environmental quality.

"It is important that state government continues to work with local government and non-profit partners to promote and protect the tree canopy within the Commonwealth's communities," said Governor Charlie Baker. "The Urban and Community Forestry Challenge Grants will give our partners essential funding to ensure our forests remain healthy for generations to come."

Funds for Urban and Community Forestry Challenge Grants are provided by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service and the Massachusetts ReLeaf Trust Fund and are administered by the DCR.

"The Urban and Community Forestry Challenge Grants provide a vital funding source for municipalities and local non-profit partners to enhance communities through strategic planning and advocacy," said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton.  "By increasing the tree capacity within a community, residents and businesses will enjoy lower heating and cooling costs, cleaner air and water, a reduction in noise pollution, and the natural beauty trees bring to our neighborhoods."

Urban and Community Forestry Challenge Grants assist in the following key areas:
*Building and strengthening citizen advocacy and action organizations
*Developing and adopting tree and forest ordinances and policies
*Securing or training professional staff
*Developing and implementing an urban forestry management plan
*Attaining a Tree City USA Award
*Completing strategic community tree plantings and "Heritage Tree" care projects
*Other projects that are well-conceived and will result in sustained improvements to urban and community forestry management in other areas

"DCR's stewardship of the Commonwealth's natural resources does not stop at the borders of our properties," said DCR Commissioner Leo Roy. "The Baker-Polito Administration remains committed to assisting our partners throughout the state to maintain and promote the health of all community forests."

The FRCOG's project, "Trees and Social Equity in Greenfield", which was awarded $30,000, will purchase shade and fruit trees and then conduct high-profile tree plantings in Environmental Justice (EJ) areas.  The community will be involved in supporting and stewarding these newly planted trees.  Funds will also be used to conduct site assessments and designs for 2 planting locations within these EJ neighborhoods.

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The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), an agency of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, oversees 450,000 acres of parks and forests, beaches, bike trails, watersheds, dams, and parkways.  Led by Commissioner Leo Roy, the agency's mission is to protect, promote, and enhance our common wealth of natural, cultural, and recreational resources.  To learn more about DCR, our facilities, and our programs, please visit www.mass.gov/dcr or contact mass.parks@state.ma.us.

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View downloadable photographs on Flickr........... www.flickr.com/photos/masseea/sets/

Visit The Great Outdoors blog................................ www.mass.gov/blog/environment

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