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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

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Day two of David Pecker testimony wraps in NY Trump trial; Supreme Court hears arguments on Idaho's near-total abortion ban; ND sees a flurry of campaigning among Native candidates; and NH lags behind other states in restricting firearms at polling sites.

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The Senate moves forward with a foreign aid package. A North Carolina judge overturns an aged law penalizing released felons. And child protection groups call a Texas immigration policy traumatic for kids.

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Wyoming needs more educators who can teach kids trade skills, a proposal to open 40-thousand acres of an Ohio forest to fracking has environmental advocates alarmed and rural communities lure bicyclists with state-of-the-art bike trail systems.

New online tool helps Boston grow tree equity

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Tuesday, February 20, 2024   

A new online tool is helping community groups in Boston ensure all neighborhoods reap the benefits from urban tree canopies. The Tree Equity Score Analyzer, or TESA, was created by the national nonprofit, American Forests to help communities study disparities in tree coverage and develop planting scenarios, one census block at a time.

David Meshoulam, executive director of Speak for the Trees Boston, said trees provide numerous environmental and health benefits.

"We need to find ways to increase canopy, especially in communities that are most vulnerable to climate change that are going to face the burden of a hotter and dirtier environment," he said.

Meshoulam added increasing tree cover will help reduce the severity of so-called heat islands by naturally cooling entire blocks, and that the online tool helps analyze where plantings will have the greatest impact.

The TESA tool integrates data from urban areas across the country, including building density, temperature, existing tree canopy and more. Already groups in Boston, Providence and several other cities have used it to create plans they can bring to government agencies and nonprofits to request funding. Meshoulam said students at Boston Green Academy High School trained their fellow students to use TESA, exposing them to a vibrant new career.

"Not just a job but a career in urban forestry and tree care and tree planting and advocacy because there are really good jobs out there in this field," he explained.

Lawmakers in Massachusetts are also looking for ways to mitigate the impacts of climate change by creating a municipal reforestation program. New legislation would prioritize neighborhoods considered heat islands with less than 29% of tree canopy cover and provide state funding to implement community-driven plantings.


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