Originally featured in the July 3, 2020 Saugus Advocate. Story and photos by Tara Vocino; reprinted with permission from the Saugus Advocate

The locust tree that was planted along Winter Street in East Saugus

Thirty-four trees were planted in 22 locations on 10 different streets, resulting from a $20,000 grant from the Foundation Trust, awarded to Saugus Action Volunteers for the Environment (SAVE).

 

Photo cred. Ann Devlin

According to Dr. Joseph Spinazzola, Executive Director of the Foundation Trust, SAVE submitted a grant application to the Foundation Trust during their 2019 grant cycle to help them preserve and enhance the natural beauty of the Saugus community by replacing dead and damaged trees throughout the town and by adding new trees, both large and small, to barren areas with insufficient scenery and shade.

 

Trees are planted along 10 different streets throughout the town, including along Main, Central, Saville, Elm, Parker, Zito, Gilway, Richard, Ballard, and Winter Streets.

 

Resident Michele McKinney and Saugus Tree Committee Chairwoman Nancy Prag by a Sargent Cherry tree

Saugus Tree Committee Chairwoman Nancy Prag wrote on Wednesday that she is so excited to have so many new trees planted around town. She added that it’s a joint effort between the DPW/Forestry departments, Rocky Hill Farm for mulch donations, and Capone Landscaping, of Wakefield.

 

SAVE President Ann Devlin wrote that SAVE pursued the grant from Foundation Trust for street tree replacement because hazard tree removal had outpaced replacement.

 

Residents Joseph and Alisa DiMare shown with one of the two small Japanese Ivory Silk trees planted in front of their home

As she knocked on neighbor’s doors on Wednesday night, who had trees planted in front of their properties, she introduced their mission and asked them if they could help regularly water the trees with their hoses. Parker Street resident Bruce McCarrier Jr. as well as Central Street residents Alisa and Joe DiMare agreed to.

 

Resident Joseph DiMare pulls up a gator bag, which is used to re-water the tree in front of his house. He said he’s going to water the tree more often.

While walking, Devlin commented on why tree planting is important, especially on Ballard Street near Wheelabrator.

 

“Our urban canopy is important for so many reasons, including aesthetics, shade, air pollution reduction, storm water control and so much more,” Devlin continued. “SAVE and the Saugus Tree Committee are so appreciative of this award from the Foundation Trust, because it allowed us to double the number of street trees that the town was able to plant this year.”

 

Devlin added that she, like Prag, also appreciates the support that they received for this project from the Town Manager and the DPW and could not have accomplished this goal without them.

In a telephone interview, Devlin continued that trees needed approval by every abutter and need to avoid touching telephone wires when they grow.

 

Resident Bruce McCarrier, Jr. by the American Maple Colonial Spirit tree planted in front of his house

The entire planning was undertaken and completed in May and June by Capone Landscaping, with the project overseen for the Foundation Trust by the trust’s senior field associate, Domenic Arangio. SAVE volunteers assisted with adding gator bags to all the trees — and with neighbors’ help — will take responsibility for watering them and ensuring that they root in and thrive this summer and fall, according to Spinazzola.

 

Although the project took more than a year to complete, those involved say that the wait was worth it.

 

“Many people and organizations came together to make this initiative possible in addition to SAVE and the Foundation Trust,” Spinazzola wrote. “This project would not have been possible without the active assistance, planning and ongoing support of Nancy Prag and the Saugus Tree Committee, the Town Manager, DPW, the Forestry Department and DigSafe, Capone Landscaping, Richard Magnan and Domenic Arangio.”

 

As she walked around town to monitor the trees’ growth, Devlin said that it’s so enjoyable to see new trees in so many locations around town.

 

Saugus Action Volunteers for the Environment (SAVE) President Ann Devlin stands in front of a small Japanese Ivory Silk tree at 255 Central St. during a walk around town

Spinazzola explained why tree preservation is vital to communities on so many levels. “They actively protect the environment and improve air quality by releasing oxygen and storing carbon,” Spinazzola wrote. “They provide shade, homes for birds, and places for people to rest and gather.” Perhaps above all, he continued, through their beauty, color and structure they bring shape to the natural environment, and in doing so transform what can otherwise feel like desolate concrete and tarmac streets into comforting and inviting neighborhoods.

 

The Spinazzola family has a decades long history with the town of Saugus, including being the persons responsible in the 1980’s for creating the original rotary plantings throughout the town through their former business, Green Thumb Landscaping and Nursery. Coming full circle as Trustees of the Foundation Trust, Joseph and Anthony Spinazzola found SAVE’s application to be particularly compelling and worthy of their support.

 

“The project took over a year from its initial inception to completion, but what’s meant to last a long time often takes a long time,” Spinazzola wrote. “Our collective goal here was to create something that lasts and that will benefit the great town of Saugus for decades and generations to come.”