Worcester, Mass. Volunteers Celebrate Arbor Day

(NECN: Ana Bottary) - Arbor Day is a day dedicated to planting trees, and in Worcester, Mass., it has taken on new meaning in recent years.

"Arbor Day is even more important in the Worcester area because they lost so many different trees," Massachusetts Arbor Association representative Carl Cathcart said.

The discovery of the Asian longhorn beetles in 2008 led to trees throughout central Massachusetts being cut down.

"Since that time, almost 30,000 trees have been lost due to it and the mission of the DCR, USDA and Worcester Tree Initiative is to replant those trees," Jeff Hehman said.

Hehman is the manager of Bartlett Tree Experts' central Massachusetts operation. He and his company are members of the Massachusetts Arbor Association and helped to prune and remove dead trees from Worcester Technical High School.

"These trees now are 5-6 years old, never pruned before. Young tree care is really where we are trying to get the word out," Hehman said.

At Worcester's Dodge Park, arborists planted eight apple trees on Friday. Melissa Levangie and Kathyrn Aroian are have dedicated their time to help restore Dodge Park over the past couple of years.

"Dodge Park was affected by the long horn beetles, we had an infestation here with a significant amount of positive trees that were removed quite some time ago," Levangie said.

"Over the course of the past couple of years we've put in about 700 plants, mostly trees," Aroian said.

Their goal is for the park to be in bloom all year long.

Although the Asian long horn beetles are not yet eradicated, Hehman says the number of beetles has dropped and the number of trees planted is on the rise.

"By this fall, the goal is to have approximately 30,000 trees planted," he said.

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