Going out on a limb

Airport gives 2,500 tree seedlings to Island school children.

Charley Woods proudly holds a seedling provided by the airport.

Martha’s Vineyard Airport is distributing 2,500 tree seedlings to Island schools, to be given out to children.

According to airport director Geoff Freeman, the airport is working on a number of green initiatives, and the public outreach effort regarding environmental concerns is one important aspect of these goals.

As the airport works to make its campus as carbon-neutral as possible, Freeman said, the administration thought it would be good to spearhead an initiative that would reach as many people as possible. “So we decided that a good thing to do would be something for the schoolchildren on the Island,” Freeman said. 

He added that the Arbor Day Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to tree planting, has extensive experience working with schools from all over the country. “We decided to purchase trees for all the students of the public and private schools on the Island — that includes the [Martha’s Vineyard Public] Charter School and the Vineyard Montessori School,” Freeman said. The seedlings cost a total of $3,312.

With the help of administration staff, he said, the airport has been working to package seedlings and ship them out to the schools, adding that the airport would be handing seedlings directly to students if it weren’t for COVID restrictions.

According to Freeman, Martha’s Vineyard Airport officials spoke with Island schools at the beginning of the year, and determined that around 2,500 seedlings would be a good number to distribute, based on the number of enrolled students. All schools have received seedlings so far, except for the Edgartown School (which will receive them soon).

“It’s really just about being a part of the community, and wanting to give back. Hopefully the kids can take those trees and plant them in their yard, get something growing, and do something good for the environment,” Freeman said.

Additionally, he noted, airports are often viewed as some of the largest contributors to pollution, but the airport wants to prove that “with a small airport like this, we can be a part of the solution, not the problem.”