A scenic view of Massena, N.Y.

A scenic view of Massena, N.Y. Credit: Doug Kerr

About the 2014 Green Efficient Massena ReLeaf Project:

Partnering with the Town of Massena Electric Department, Alcoa Foundation and American Forests are planting 520 trees in Massena to help the town’s urban forest recover from a 1998 ice storm and 2013 wind damange while promoting energy efficiency.

ReLeaf Location:

Massena, N.Y.

Key ReLeaf Activities:

  • Planting 520 trees across 100 acres.
  • Enhancing an urban forest through environmental justice by working in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods.

Why This ReLeaf 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. In 2014, we are continuing those efforts to help Massena improve its urban forest coverage, while also addressing damage dealt by a wind storm in July 2013.

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.