Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Volunteers green Holyoke

Courtesy The Trustees of Reservations
Last Sunday volunteers from around the Pioneer Valley gathered at the Land of Providence in Holyoke, a 25-acre preserve maintained by the Trustees of Reservations, to help plant trees along the Connecticut River.

The effort was part of the 10/10/10 Global Work Party to raise international climate awareness. The tree planting was hosted by the Trustees of Reservations and funded by the Massachusetts Environmental Trust (MET). The volunteers worked to reach the goal of planting 100 saplings along the river. The project served as both a means of raising awareness about climate change and an attempt to restore the floodplain forest along the river.

The Trustees of Reservations, founded in 1891, is America’s oldest nonprofit land trust. The organization works to promote the well-being and care of wildlife and historic land all across the Commonwealth. They raise awareness about the necessity for a diversity of ecosystems by offering volunteer work for those interested in working on land preservation. The Trustees maintain and develop 103 different sites in Massachusetts, from farmland to beaches. The floodplain forest restoration was performed on the Land of Providence, a farm and preserve located just outside downtown Holyoke and donated to the Trustees by the religious order the Sisters of Providence.

Josh Knox, superintendent of the Trustees, explained that the immediate goal of the 10/10/10 project was to plant 100 trees to replenish the floodplain forest. These trees, he said, will act as a buffer to agricultural runoff from the neighboring Nuestras Raices farm, a community farm which leases land from the Trustees. The trees will also serve as habitat for the preserve’s wildlife.

“By increasing forest, we will be strengthening its capacity to filter pollution,” Knox said.

The Trustees hope to replenish about five acres of floodplain forest, which would buffer and filter runoff resulting, in the hopes of creating a much cleaner river. This project, the Trustees believe, is vital to Holyoke’s biosphere, as the Paper City is built on and dependent upon the river. Not only does it provide an abundance of resources, but it is also an attractive site for the area.

“I think it’s quite beautiful and has profound aesthetic value,” Knox added.

A large part of these efforts were also to raise awareness about the threat of climate change. Knox hoped the volunteers got something valuable out of their work.

“We hope that people come out, nurture their connection to the great outdoors and are inspired to take action,” he said.

10/10/10, a campaign launched by, an international organization dedicated to reducing the amount of CO2 in the air, was intended to be a day of climate change awareness.

The event was what the Trustees hoped would serve as a contribution to, which was founded by Bill McKibben, a prominent environmentalist.

Ginny Fuhringer, a volunteer from Holyoke, said she respects the values of and is a fan of McKibben’s.

“I like that it’s run by Bill McKibben, a pioneer in addressing climate change,” she said. “He is able to rally a lot of people.”

The 10/10/10 Global Work Party took place in 188 different countries.

Fuhringer was excited about the international contribution, as she said she believes the 10/10/10 effort was inspiring.

“The fact that it’s global makes it more energizing,” she said.

Fuhringer did her part on 10/10/10 as part of the floodplain restoration project, but she also wants to see more change take place.

“More people getting involved on this level doing events, but also influencing the government,” are among the trends she said she would like to witness.

Fuhringer added that, while the topic of climate change can be a stressful one, she believes projects like the one in Holyoke over the weekend can be unifying and help take some of the worry out of the matter.

“The whole concept of climate change is so overwhelming,” she said. “It’s nice to be a part of an event that addresses climate change and to be with other people who have the same desire.”

Nancy Pierce can be reached at [email protected].

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