This summer, I had the privilege of being asked to be on a committee to begin a plan to “Re-Green Springfield” and the surrounding communities.
As many of you know, the Springfield area was hit on June 1 with a devastating tornado. Many homes, businesses, schools and the tree lined streets were severely damaged.

At the June board meeting for the Federation, my plea to everyone there was to form a committee within the Federation to help in the reforestation and planting of trees. This idea was received with much enthusiasm and OFFICIALLY NAMED THE
. Now that the “Re-Green Springfield” committee has been formed, our goal is to replant all public and private trees lost in the tornado’s path. The devastation created a 2.3mile long by ½ mile wide scar through the City landscape. The City lost over 2,000 public trees and an undetermined amount of private trees in Springfield’s urban forest. Springfield before the tornado had 28,174 public trees adding a capital asset to the City of $54,500,000 in terms of storm water runoff and energy cost savings.

Many towns in this area that belong to the Massachusetts Garden Club Federation were affected: Springfield, West Springfield, and Wilbraham.

This initiative is a 3-5year effort to restore all of the trees lost on June 1st 2011, in all the neighborhoods that were impacted. In Fall 2011, we will be planting 100-120 trees with the generous donations already made by People’s Bank. In the Spring 2012, we hope to plant 350 trees and steadily increase our replanting rates as volunteer and donation rates increase.

A separate non-profit agency, Springfield Council for Cultural and Community Affairs, has been set up specifically to deal with certain community projects and ensure that monies raised will be solely used on those projects.

By the beginning of October, I will have flyers and other pertinent information to give to you. In the meantime, I am asking clubs in all the GCFM Districts to consider helping in some way as a club project, or separate project, to collect donating to this very worthy cause.

If you have any questions, you may e-mail me at suzreed@hotmail.com. And I would be happy to answer them.

Thank you for your interest, support and participation in this very worthy cause.

Suzanne Reed, Chair, GCFM Tornado Relief Fund
“Re-Green Springfield” Committee