The WRWC has been celebrating the entire month of April as Earth Month, filled with events and activities throughout the Watershed community. Part of the celebrations recently included a tree planting featuring U.S. Senator Jack Reed and Providence Mayor Brett Smiley, who joined Alicia Lehrer of the Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council, USDA officials, and local volunteers near the Bath Street Pedestrian Bridge in Providence.

On Friday, April 21 at the Bath Street Pedestrian Bridge in Providence, the WRWC hosted Senator Reed and Mayor Smiley for a tree planting to celebrate Earth Day and highlight efforts to help expand Rhode Island’s urban forests, absorb more carbon dioxide, and combat pollution and climate change.

WRWC is thrilled to celebrate Senator Reed’s investment in more urban forests. Senator Reed helped deliver $1.2 million in new federal funding for Rhode Island through the Urban and Community Forestry Program. The WRWC has received $6.3 million in federal earmarks over the last two years, thanks to Senator Reed, who secured the funding in order to make improvements to the Greenway in Providence and build out new bike paths.

Senator Reed expressed his gratitude to the WRWC’s work and the importance of tree planting. “I am grateful to the Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council for the incredible work they do to make Providence a better place for all. By mobilizing a diverse coalition of volunteers they are making the city cleaner and greener. This new federal funding will help plant more trees in urban areas across the state, expanding tree cover and improving air quality, shade, and the aesthetic beauty of our natural landscape. It will also help curb the impacts of climate change. Planting these trees is a smart investment in the health and wellness of people and it’s nice to see progress taking root right here in Providence.”

“The trees on our streets and in our parks play a vital role in building healthier, more connected communities,” said Mayor Smiley. “The Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council’s work to preserve the natural beauty of our City is creating a healthier, more resilient Providence for everyone in the community.”

“WRWC is thrilled to join Senator Reed and Mayor Smiley to celebrate this investment in more urban forests. Over the last two years, we have planted more than 250 trees along the Woonasquatucket River right in urban Providence. We are also partners with Building Futures Rhode Island on establishing a local tree farm and training young people to plant and care for trees. When planted with space and protection, strong trees absorb and clean stormwater runoff, create wildlife habitat, cool our neighborhoods and just make us all feel better. We have plans to plant hundreds more every year,” said WRWC Executive Director Alicia Lehrer.