“Noticing the trees around us — on our commutes, in our yards, parks, or neighborhoods — is the first step to valuing them,” notes R.O.O.T. (Recognizing Our Oldest Trees) co-organizer Kerrie Kemperman, and this is the rationale behind the Somerville tree-themed photography exhibit at Arts at the Armory. The show offers a glimpse of some marvelous tree specimens, seen through the eyes of Somerville residents.
Trees are a valuable natural resource, and their merits are extensive: cleaning the air, mitigating stormwater, combating heat island effects, and more. Overcoming “plant blindness” and purposefully observing trees is a critical step toward ensuring their protection and conservation. The photographs in this exhibit were selected not only to demonstrate the aesthetic qualities of trees, but also to acknowledge the places where human activity often comes into conflict with them.
“Trees tend to be cut or removed whenever they interfere with human goals: power lines, roads and new MBTA lines, sidewalks, and housing construction… which are not inherently bad reasons to cut down a tree, but it is worth considering these as opportunities to work around trees that are already well established in a particular spot.” Especially since it takes 25 to 40 years for a tree to reach maturity, and the tree provides greater environmental benefits as it ages
R.O.O.T. and the Urban Forestry Committee have also launched the “Remarkable Trees” program. We ask Somerville residents to nominate a local tree that is special to them, and the nominated trees are then added to a shared “walking map” so that everyone can visit these remarkable specimens (visit https://tinyurl.com/nominateatree). We also created a mobile outdoor banner of Somerville tree photos. The banner has appeared at street festivals and other locations around the city — watch for it in your neighborhood park or square.
Our participating artists are all Somerville residents. Artist information is provided with each photograph. If you are interested in purchasing, please contact the photographer directly.
This exhibit was produced with the assistance of Arts at the Armory and the Somerville Urban Forestry Committee. It is on display until November 7, 2021.