New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill’s department of outreach was recently featured in the prestigious Arborist News, the official quarterly journal of the International Society of Arboriculture. The article, “The Worcester Tree Initiative: A Community NGO at the Center of Reclaiming and Urban Forest,” was written by Alexander J. Elton, Benjamin S. Weil, and Richard W. Harper and included in the August 2020 edition of the journal.

The article tells the story of how the arrival of the Asian longhorned beetle to Worcester inspired a community response that continues to endure even after the eradication of the invasive pest.

The Worcester Tree Initiative, in collaboration with local, state, and federal agencies removed and replaced thousands of trees in Worcester County, effectively robbing the beetle of its host plant while educating the public about the value of the urban canopy. Today, Worcester Tree Initiative continues as a part of New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill’s Outreach Department as staff, donors, and volunteers collaborate to care for the urban canopy through pruning, planting, and watering of trees in the city.

“WTI may have been formed to provide education and give away trees, but it has also helped deliver a sense of hope to a community and its urban forest,” the article states.

Alexander J. Elton is a ISA Certified Arborist and an Urban Forestry/Arboriculture Program graduate student. Benjamin S. Weil, PhD, is an Extension assistant professor in the Buildings and Construction Technology Program. Richard W. Harper, PhD, is an Extension Associate Professor of Urban & Community Forestry in the Urban Forestry/Arboriculture Program. All authors are located in the the Department of Environmental Conservation at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.