On Friday, May 30, Tower Hill partnered with Congressman James P. McGovern, Clark University, Mass Audubon, and Park Spirit to lead a walk in Hadwen Arboretum, a wooded property extending from the corner of May and Lovell Street to the end of Englewood Ave in the Columbus Park Neighborhood. Sixth grade students from the May Street and Columbus Park Elementary Schools walked from their schools for a local field trip to learn about this community resource, learning about tree identification, biodiversity, and the many valuable benefits provided by our community forest. 

This walk was organized by former Mayor of Worcester Joseph O’Brien, who now teaches at Clark University. As a member of the advisory board for the Worcester Tree Initiative Department at Tower Hill, he was able to liaison this event which tied together so many community partners, including our local congressman, who also sits on the WTI Dept’s Advisory Board, and was a cofounder of the Tree Initiative. WTI Director Ruth Seward and Community Forester Derek Lirange worked together with Lisa Carlin of Mass Audubon create a fun event for local students to learn about a different element of STEAM education, urban forestry and horticulture. 

Also present were THBG Trustee Liz Miska and Clark Geography Dept. Professor John Rogan, who shared with students about the work that the University has committed to doing in caring for the arboretum. Greg Doerschler, a member of Park Spirit and local environmental advocate who spoke about the East West Trail, a 14 mile urban hike through Worcester’s parks and green spaces, which we stood directly in the middle of as we climbed to the top of the hill. City Councilor Matt Wally, who represents the district in which Hadwen Arboretum sits, spoke to the students about the value of Worcester’s parks and the amazing ability to get away from the noise and sight of traffic, construction, and crowds into cool, tranquil, and safe environments where they can walk, play, and explore.  

The students then split into four groups and went with leaders from Tower Hill and Mass Audubon to see more of the park, learn more about the trees growing there, and discover more about urban ecology. The whole event was a lot of fun and it introduced a lot of students to a resource they can use in their neighborhood. We hope to see a lot more fun activities popping up in the arboretum space in the weeks, months, and years to come.