Town Trees and Urban Forestry Working Group

Town Trees and Urban Forestry Working Group

Working to increase appropriate urban tree planting and maintenance

for our streets and parks

There is a wealth of climate assessments on the positive impact of urban trees in reducing residential heat islands through shading, absorbing carbon and storm runoff, and limiting pollution particulates circulating in the air. This research has resulted in a significant increase in urban planning education and certifications for Urban Forestry professionals. Massachusetts recognizes this fact and requires towns to manage their green infrastructure with qualified Tree Warden arborists and planners. Marblehead has not been managing the wealth of our urban landscape for many years and as a result we see a great many tree roots interfering with sidewalks and roads, dead and dying trees causing damage during storms, and many unappealing street views interfering with the beauty of our town. 

As with other climate initiatives, there is both a governmental and a personal responsibility to act, support, and deliver solutions. Marblehead town departments can not manage the entire urban tree population without significant human and monetary resources, education and communication. Sustainable Marblehead recognizes that our tax dollars establish the essential structures but it is up to the residents of Marblehead to fill in the gaps by pitching in with research and donations, volunteering where possible, and creating the positive social climate for this important work. Marblehead has a wealth of civic organizations and we need the support of all our residents in the form of Garden Clubs, Schools, Scouts, the Chamber of Commerce and our recreational and yachting clubs volunteering and making Trees a priority. 


In 2019 and early 2020 we were able to help with:

  • Researching and communicating state requirements for town urban forestry departments and helping with the hiring of a new Town Tree Warden, Arborist Jon Fobert.

  • Summarizing and communicating the urban planning trends and progress happening in other North Shore MA towns.

  • Supporting the Warrant article for planting new trees along Atlantic Avenue.

  • Assisting in the Atlantic Avenue tree selection and planting protocols.

  • Helping write a Municipal Vulnerability Grant proposal.

  • Researching better tree species for urban environments -- ones that will provide shade and visual beauty while minimizing negative street, utility and sidewalk impact.

  • Resurrecting awareness of the Tree Donation Fund for tree planting and maintenance -- $460 was donated by the Marblehead Arts Association from a special exhibit in January 2020 and $710 was donated by the Acorn Gallery's Debra Freeman from sales of a Fort Sewall Tree print.

In 2020 we will continue to help in the following areas:

  • Communicating the importance of trees in our environment.

  • Generating more awareness of and donation to the Tree Donation Fund.

  • Working with the Town Tree Warden on a street tree inventory and health survey.

  • Arranging for volunteers to help plant street trees, where possible.

  • Assisting when possible in finding additional grants and funding for Urban Forestry initiatives.

  • Coordinating with Complete Streets, Marblehead Conservancy and other working groups within the town.

  • Expanding tree planting focus to include working with Recreation and Parks Department on areas such as Crocker, Seaside and Gatchells Parks.

Please join us!

Marblehead, Mass., USA