The Department of Environmental Management  (DEM), in partnership with the  RI Tree Council, RI Nursery and  Landscape Association, and the  Arbor Day Foundation, today announced that it is providing 1,000 free trees to Rhode Island residents this spring. Now in its 12th season,  the program helps Rhode Islanders save energy and lower their utility bills by strategically planting trees on their property.

“We’re pleased to join with the Arbor Day Foundation and local partners again this spring to offer free trees to Rhode Islanders,” said DEM Director Janet Coit in a statement. “Planting a tree in the right place is a tangible way for residents to stand up to climate change and can improve air quality, sequester carbon, and help manage stormwater runoff. Most trees are spoken for within days of registration opening, so be sure to register  early!” 

Planting the right tree in the right place is the key to maximizing the energy-saving benefits that trees provide. When planted properly, a single tree can save a homeowner money on energy costs by shading their home in the summer and blocking cold winds in the winter. This season, nine different tree species with a variety of mature sizes will be distributed. Available species will include Allee elm, American hornbeam, black tupelo, eastern hophornbeam, eastern redbud, Exclamation! London planetree, ‘Frontier’  hybrid elm, Okame cherry, and white oak.

Registration opens on Monday, April 5, and is required to reserve a tree. Recipients must be Rhode Island residents. Supplies go fast, so early registration is recommended. Follow these steps to reserve your free  tree:  

1. Sign up at www.arborday.org/RIDEM and map out your house by using the interactive mapping  tool  

2. Select the right tree by choosing from a list of approved trees 

3. Reserve your tree by choosing from a list of pick-up locations (listed below) 

The free trees will be approximately four to six feet tall and come in three-gallon containers. These trees are traveling size and will fit in most cars for you to take home and plant yourself. 

For registration assistance please contact the Arbor Day Foundation at 1-855-234-3801. Trees can be picked up during one of the following pick-up events:  

Saturday, May 1 (9 AM – 12 PM)  

Richmond Elementary School, 190 Kingstown Road, Richmond 

Saturday, May 8 (9 AM – 12 PM)  

Colt State Park, Route 114, Bristol 

Saturday, May 15 (9 AM – 12 PM)  

RI State Park Headquarters, 1100 Tower Hill Road, North Kingstown 

Saturday, May 22 (9 AM – 12 PM)  

RI Tree Council Headquarters, 2953 Hartford Avenue, Johnston 

DEM reminds Rhode Islanders that they must wear face coverings and practice social distancing while at the  tree pick-up events. DEM advises everyone to follow current guidance about COVID-19 from the Rhode  Island Department of Health. More information about COVID-19 and Rhode Island’s response can be found  here: https://health.ri.gov/diseases/ncov2019/ 

For questions about the Energy-Saving Trees Program, contact Lou Allard, Urban and Community Forestry  Program Coordinator in DEM’s Division of Forest Environment at 401-222-2445 ext. 72056 or by email at  Robert.e.allard@dem.ri.gov. Funding for the program is provided by the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. For more information on DEM’s programs and divisions, visit www.dem.ri.gov

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Ryan Belmore has been the Owner & Publisher of What's Up Newp since 2012. He also currently works for Mountain News, where he serves as Senior Editor - North America for OnTheSnow. He previously worked for the New England Patriots and American Cancer Society. He currently serves as Vice President of Fort Adams Trust and is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and North American Snowsports Journalists Association (NASJA).