HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — It is the last Friday in April, which means it’s Arbor Day — a day to celebrate trees and everything they do for us and the environment. Middle school kids in Hartford learned about the important place trees have in our neighborhoods.
“It’s not just planting a tree,” Auriana Vegee, a Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School student, explained. “One day you can come back, and you can look back at it and say, ‘I planted a tree with my classmates,’ you know?”
Several groups came together at Hartford’s King Middle School to help plant more than two dozen trees. At the same time, Eversource crews helped maintain existing trees.
“I believe that when people have the chance to connect with nature and with one another, they live happier and healthier lives,” said Patrick Doyle, Executive Director of KNOX, a group trying to make Hartford greener and healthier.
Neighborhoods without many trees are hotter in the summer and more stressful for their residents.
“If we help our community, our youth can grow up better and have a better education and a better home,” middle-schooler Tyrik Jackson said.
The 25 trees they are planting Friday is a good start, but the city of Hartford is looking to plant 300 trees just this spring alone as part of a statewide effort to increase the tree canopy.
“This year, Gov. [Ned] Lamont in SB 979 proposed an ambitious goal to increase urban tree canopy coverage by 5%,” DEEP Deputy Commissioner Mason Trumbull said.
It turns out that planting trees get support from just about everyone.
“I’ve got new residents calling and saying, ‘Can we plant some trees?'” Hartford City Forester Heather Dionne said. “And I’m like, ‘Yes! Yes, absolutely.'”
Trees also store carbon, slowing climate change and helping the environment’s future.