Mary Knittle Mary Knittle

Energy Program Director

Worcester, Massachusetts

City Stands Up to Asian Longhorned Beetle Attack

Mary Knittle has lived her entire life in Worcester. She has enjoyed the trees that were planted 50 – 60 years ago and watched them set the tone for life in her community. "Trees were as important as the buildings," she says. "They were part of the neighborhood."

Imagine Mary's distress and that of other citizens in Worcester when the dreaded Asian longhorned beetles began destroying trees that have shaded the streets, parks and yards of this New England city. But like the patriots of old, Worcester's citizens refused to be defeated by the invasion. Instead, there was a groundswell of support for replanting.

Through a community-wide fund raising campaign, city support, and assistance from the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, the Worchester Tree Initiative was created. Through this initiative, a management strategy was developed to contend with the beetles, including the planting of trees both on public and private properties.

Without the partnerships and support that came to the rescue, restoration of Worcester's trees would not be happening. But it is happening, much to the satisfaction of Mary. "Trees lend a livability that makes people feel safe and comfortable," she says. "They quiet noise and create a sense of calm and privacy." And in her community, the residents will not let invading beetles deprive them of that!

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The trees were as important as the buildings. They were a part of the neighborhood.

Mary Knittle


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