New Trees Coming To Portland

The Jonah Center wishes to thank the 97 individuals and organizations who contributed to our successful Replace Our Trees Campaign in Middletown and Portland. Click on the following link to view the Tree Fund Donors. Including the original financial commitment of the Jonah Center itself, individual donations, and matching funds from Sustainable CT, the Jonah Center’s Tree Fund now has $20,000 available for planting — $8,000 for Portland and $12,000 for Middletown, based on the residence of the donor. Both municipalities have lost hundreds of trees recently due to drought, pests, and disease — sources of tree stress related to climate change. Tree planting and maintenance are important ways to mitigate the effects of climate change because large, older trees absorb and store carbon from the atmosphere.

The Jonah Center will work with Portland’s Director of Public Works, Bob Shea, over the summer to select locations where new trees will provide the greatest public benefit. John Hall, the Executive Director of the Jonah Center and the project manager, notes that the campaign’s advertised priority in Portland is to replace trees in walkable, residential neighborhoods close to the town center, including on Main Street. Arborist Jane Harris will assist in the tree and site selection process. Sue Fiedler, a Portland resident and landscape architect with the Connecticut Department of Transportation, will contribute to site selection along Main Street where the wide state right-of-way offers several promising locations. Jim Landry of Ever Green Landscaping in Portland has been chosen to do the planting, with assistance from the town’s Public Works Department and volunteers.

Taller shade trees such as maples, oaks, lindens, hornbeams, and tupelos will be planted wherever overhead and underground utilities and hardscapes are not a factor. These larger tree species offer the greatest public benefit in terms of beauty, shade, reducing the heat-island effect, removing air pollution, sequestering carbon, and improving mental and physical health of residents. Many studies have shown that a significant tree canopy contributes these tangible improvements to quality of life. Trees also improve a neighborhood’s property values and attract economic activity.

Portland’s First Selectwoman, Susan Bransfield, said, “I would like to thank the Jonah Center for taking the initiative and working with SustainableCT to raise $8,000 to plant trees in Portland. This is a Sustainable action – that will improve not only the environment but also improve the appearance of our town. Many thanks to all who contributed. We look forward to this great project!”