We are eighth graders in Girl Scout Troop 68137 from Medford working on our Silver Award project. The Silver Award is a leadership award, centered around tackling an issue in your community, and is the highest honor a Cadette can achieve. Girls seeking the Silver Award need to identify an issue in their community, choose a project that helps address that issue, and complete a minimum of 50 hours of work towards their project. For our Silver Award project, we are partnering with the City of Medford and Trees Medford to roll out an adopt-a-tree program in Medford as well as educate the community about the importance of trees.
Medford’s Urban Canopy is Shrinking
The urban canopy in Medford is shrinking. While the city is trying to rebuild the canopy by planting new trees along streets and in parks, it doesn’t have the resources to water all of the new trees it plants. A newly planted tree requires 10-14 gallons of water per week from May through October in order to survive and thrive in its first three years. Without sufficient water, newly planted trees in Medford will struggle to establish their root systems and may die.
Why are Urban Trees Important?
Building a healthy urban canopy is important for many reasons. Urban trees help cities adapt to climate change. In the summer, trees shade and cool the air around buildings, reducing dependence on air conditioning. In the winter, trees help reduce wind speeds and keep nearby buildings warmer. Trees remove greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide, from the air and replenish it with oxygen for us to breathe. Trees also provide many health benefits, improving air quality by capturing dust and pollution particles from dirty city air that can affect human health. Trees bring natural elements and wildlife into urban environments, increasing the quality of life for residents. The more trees and grass in the common spaces of city neighborhoods, the more those spaces are used by residents. This results in more social activities, more knowledge about neighbors, stronger feelings of belonging and the kind of positive social ties that are the very fabric of a healthy neighborhood. Studies have even shown that hospital patients recover from surgery more quickly and require less pain medication when their room has a window that provides a view of trees!
The Adopt-a-Tree Program
The goal of Medford’s adopt-a-tree program is to help ensure that newly-planted city trees in Medford survive and thrive. Through the program, a volunteer pledges to water a tree during its first three years of life so it can grow into a healthy, mature tree.
To promote the new adopt-a-tree program, our team designed a web page on the TreesMedford site detailing the program and providing a webform to sign up to adopt a tree. We created an online map of all trees planted in Medford between 2017 and 2020 to help potential volunteers identify trees near them that are in need of water. We developed an educational workshop about the benefits of trees, and presented to several Girl Scout troops in Medford. We tagged dozens of newly-planted trees with “A New Tree Needs Water” tags encouraging neighbors to adopt the tree. We designed and printed a “This Tree Has Been Adopted” tag and have tagged all of the trees that have already been adopted. We are now working to advertise the Adopt-a-Tree program more broadly and recruit volunteers through flyers and social media.
How You Can Help
If you would like to support our project, and in turn support the environment, we would appreciate if you could adopt a tree! As a volunteer, you would nurture your tree by providing 10 -14 gallons of water each week between the months of May and October. Visit the TreesMedford Adopt-a-Tree page to learn more about the program, see the map of trees needing adoption, and sign-up to water a tree.
Thank you for your support! Claire, Ciara & Merbens – Troop 68137