To mitigate heat islands, VSU will be hosting free tree giveaways and planting workshops – Progress Index

To mitigate heat islands, VSU will be hosting free tree giveaways and planting workshops – Progress Index

PETERSBURG — Last summer, citizens participated in a heat-mapping study with Virginia State University to find where the hottest places in the city, or the “heat islands” were.
Urban heat islands are hotter than the rest of the city and intentional by design, created when there large stretches of heat-absorbing materials like concrete, buildings and asphalt with little tree or plant coverage. Downtown and parts of Blandford, as well other neighborhoods in the northern parts of Petersburg were among the hottest. According to the heat map, these heat islands were nearly 8 degrees hotter at night time. Neighborhoods like Walnut Hill were among the coolest.
This summer, the Progress-Index conducted its own heat tests around the city. At one point, Old Towne reached a scorching 107 degrees while Walnut Hill was 94 degrees around the same time in the afternoon.
Around the nation, urban heat-islands correlated with formerly redlined areas, where in the 30s a government-sponsored agency red-lined certain neighborhoods and deemed them “hazardous” for investment because they were inhabited by Blacks. These formerly redlined neighborhoods saw decades of disinvestment, which continues to this day.
Petersburg has no known published redlined maps, so it is unclear if it fits the national trend.
More:We created scorching ‘heat islands’ in East Coast cities. Now they’re becoming unlivable
As a follow-up to the heat-mapping study, VSU acquired a grant to hold tree planting workshops starting Oct. 15 for any resident interested in adorning their yard with environment-saving trees. VSU students will be on site to teach residents how to properly plant and care for the trees and its benefits.
As summers become more unbearable, trees provide necessary and at times life-saving cooler temperatures to its surrounding region. They also provide oxygen and its roots help lessen storm runoff and flooding.
One workshop will be located in each ward to make it easy for residents to attend, and each registered participant will receive one tree for free. Children may attend with their parents and receive their own tree. In addition, the City of Petersburg Director of Public Works has identified city property available for tree planting.
Residents will be able to preregister for a workshop via the web or phone at (434) 295 6401.
Workshop Locations & Dates:
Information about Trees being distributed (see pictures on registration form):
Joyce Chu, an award-winning investigative journalist, is the Social Justice Watchdog Reporter for The Progress Index. Contact her with comments, concerns, or story-tips at [email protected] or on Twitter @joyce_speaks.

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