© 2024 WSHU
NPR News & Classical Music
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Bridgeport will participate in a new tree planting initiative

Bridgeport's Washington Park
Sabrina Garone
Bridgeport's Washington Park

For its dense population, Connecticut is among the most forested states in the country, but some of its cities have significant loss in tree canopy. Now, Bridgeport has been selected as one of six smaller cities in the U.S. and Canada, to participate in a national tree planting initiative.

"My hope is that our residents will feel more comfortable while outdoors, especially during the warmer seasons," said Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim in a statement. "This will greatly increase the health of our residents in all facets, and I’m looking forward to seeing the outcome of the new trees planted.”

The Equitable Development Data Insight Training Initiative team will give the cities personalized data analytics, and training for local organizations to communicate the benefits of trees.

According to environmental groups, Bridgeport has about 20% canopy cover overall, but it varies between neighborhoods. Some areas have as little as 9%.

"Heat is the number one climate killer," Drew Goldman with the Nature Conservancy told the WSHU podcast Higher Ground. "Heat waves are only going to get more and more extreme, and if we have neighborhoods without adequate canopy cover, they're going to become more risky for people to live in."

Staff at Groundwork Bridgeport went through an application process earlier this year to get the city involved. The nonprofit organization converts Bridgeport's blighted areas into gardens, playgrounds and open space.

"It's really about connecting with those who can help further the overall goal," said Tanner Bergdorf with Groundwork. "Whether it's tree planting, picking up litter at a local park or something like that, it's all kind of building trust over time with individual members of your community."

Goldsman said he is glad to see more cities embrace the critical role of urban forestry.

"There is more so that recognition of the benefits from a cooling perspective, an esthetic perspective and a storm water management perspective."

Sabrina is host and producer of WSHU’s daily podcast After All Things. She also produces the climate podcast Higher Ground and other long-form news and music programs at the station. Sabrina spent two years as a WSHU fellow, working as a reporter and assisting with production of The Full Story.
A native Long Islander, J.D. is WSHU's managing editor. He also hosts the climate podcast Higher Ground. J.D. reports for public radio stations across the Northeast, is a journalism educator and proud SPJ member.