Mission Hill Park set to be designated official arboretum – Boston 25 News

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Mission Hill, Mass. — Kevin Fitzgerald Park at Mission Hill is an urban oasis just a few miles from downtown Boston.

The 5.5-acre strip of green space is the pride of the neighborhood and is on its way to joining elite environmental sanctuaries across the country.

A group of students from Northeastern University is transforming the park into a level one arboretum.

“What makes an arboretum really important is access to the community and providing green spaces for people,” said Indira Holdsworth, one of the NU students.

Visitors to the park can see shiny tags attached to many plants. The pupils attach these which contain specific information on the different types of species that they have been able to identify.

One of the criteria for being designated a Level 1 arboretum is documenting the presence of at least 25 plant species.

“We started the inventory process by going around and seeing what species already exist and we put that into an Excel spreadsheet,” explained Jessica Johnson, another student involved in the project.

So far, students have identified 21 different plant species, but this is only one step in the certification process. “We also need a master plan that will help guide Mission Hill Neighborhood Housing Services in maintaining the park,” added Nadia Plaschke, another NU student.

“It can guide what we plant in the future,” Johnson said. “There are a lot of invasive species, so we want to incorporate native plantings.”

Mission Hill residents love the idea of ​​improving this park. “It’s just a gem in the city. It’s a great place, “said Mike Fitzpatrick. The park is named after her father Kevin Fitzgerald, a former state representative.

For the students, it was a valuable learning experience and a chance to leave the neighborhood they called home for a few years in better shape.

“Ecologically, it’s a really important thing to have here, not to mention all the community aspects and how important it is to the people who live in this neighborhood,” Holdsworth said.

Another requirement to be an official arboretum is to have an annual Arbor Day event on the last Friday in April. Plans are underway to hold a tree planting event this year at Fitzpatrick Park, which could also help them reach that magic number of 25 different species.

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