Volunteers to plant trees along Portland’s Bayside Trail

More than 75 volunteers are expected to plant trees along Portland’s popular Bayside Trail starting at 9 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 4, participating in “TD Tree Days,” a cooperative effort to plant new trees in local communities.

Among the workers will be staff and volunteers with Project Canopy (the Maine Forest Service’s urban forest program), employees from TD Bank, Portland Trails, City of Portland and Alliance for Community Trees (ACTrees).

The planting session is part of a nationwide program sponsored by TD Bank and ACTrees to plant trees in communities from Maine to Florida during the month of October, according to Jan Ames Santerre, Project Canopy coordinator.

Project Canopy is a cooperative partnership between the Maine Forest Service, under the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (ACF), and GrowSmart Maine, a statewide organization that supports sustainable prosperity. Cooperation between the LePage Administration and private entities make projects like this possible.

ACF Commissioner Walt Whitcomb is expected to attend the event, Santerre said.

“We are all very grateful to TD Bank for its investment of time and resources in improving the Bayside area of Portland,” said Santarre, according to a recent press release. “This is a tremendous example of how the state can partner with private corporations for public good, a concept that is a touchstone of the LePage Administration.”

“We are proud to partner with Project Canopy, the City of Portland, Portland Trails and ACTrees to help enhance the local environment,” said Diana Glassman, TD Bank vice president and head of environmental affairs. “At TD Bank, we are passionate about the environment, and we are thrilled that so many volunteers are coming together to re-introduce trees to the Bayside Trail.”

TD Bank has donated $19,000 toward the planting project. Volunteers will plant 50 trees along a half-mile section of the Bayside Trail, which over the years, has turned a former industrial area into a livable, walk-able, vibrant urban amenity. Additional trail plans include pocket parks, gardens, shade trees, and public gathering areas to serve as a focal point for cultural activities and community programs.

The project also has received support through material donations from Oakhurst Dairy and Poland Springs, Santerre said.

While some planting has taken place, the City of Portland, Trust for Public Land, and the local trails organization, Portland Trails, still are looking for funding to reach those goals. In its completion, the trail will contribute to the economic vitality of the city, and improve the quality of life for the tens of thousands of residents, workers, and visitors, according to officials.

The TD Tree Days program will enable the city and its partners to complete their vision for the Bayside Trail. The additional trees will help the trail and the surrounding environment with shade in the summer months, as well as screen and soften the urban uses adjacent to the trail.

The addition of 50 trees to the area will have a significant impact on the quality of life for these neighborhoods.

The Alliance for Community Trees (ACTrees) is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the health and livability of cities by planting and caring for trees.

TD Bank is one of the 10 largest banks in the U.S., providing nearly 8 million customers with a retail, small business and commercial banking products and services at more than 1,280 locations throughout the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Metro D.C., the Carolinas and Florida.

For information about Project Canopy, visit http://www.maine.gov/doc/mfs/projectcanopy/;  about ACTrees, www.ACTrees.org; TD bank, www.tdbank.com.

Aislinn Sarnacki

About Aislinn Sarnacki

Aislinn is a Bangor Daily News reporter for the Outdoors pages, focusing on outdoor recreation and Maine wildlife. Visit her main blog at actoutwithaislinn.bangordailynews.com.