Grasse River, Massena, N.Y.

Grasse River, Massena, N.Y. Credit: Garry Stevens

Norway spruce (Picea abies), one of the species being planted in this project.

Norway spruce (Picea abies), one of the species being planted in this project. Credit: Richard Webb, self-employed horticulurist,

Massena, N.Y.

Key Activities:

  • Planting 530 trees across 40 acres
  • Enhancing an urban forest through environmental justice by working in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods

Project Description:
Alcoa Foundation and American Forests are partnering with the Town of Massena Electric Department to plant 530 trees in Massena to help the town’s urban forest recover from a 1998 ice storm while promoting energy efficiency.

Why This Project:
A severe ice storm struck Massena, N.Y., in 1998, severely damaging the town’s urban forest. A year later, Massena developed an Urban and Community Forest Strategic Plan that outlined a recovery plan for the town and its urban forest. The Alcoa Foundation and American Forests Partnership for Trees first funded planting in Massena in 2011, and this year’s efforts continue the town’s work to improve its urban forest coverage.

By focusing plantings in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, this project is helping bring the benefits — environmental, social and health-related — of urban forests to all of its residents, making it an example of a practice referred to as environmental justice. In addition, this project is promoting energy conservation and efficiency through strategic tree plantings.

Why Trees for Energy Efficiency:
Research shows that trees placed properly around buildings can reduce air conditioning needs by 30 percent and save 20-50 percent in energy used for heating. It’s estimated that 100 million mature trees growing around residences in the U.S. can save about $2 billion annually in energy costs. By promoting tree planting for energy efficiency, the Massena Electric Department is not just improving the aesthetics of its town, but is also saving its residents money by reducing the load on its grid. Also, by working with homeowners on tree planting, placement and education, the utility is creating a new crop of forest stewards.

Interested in the other New York reforestation projects in which we’ve been involved? Check out our New York Global ReLeaf projects.