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Research

2018 HERO student presenting research and findings

Current Research

Over the past 20 years, HERO has welcomed more than 130 undergraduate students to work on challenging human-environment research projects. The HERO program is currently collaborating with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Greening the Gateway Cities Program. The collaboration involves the inventory of juvenile trees along public roads and at private residences, as well as the survey of residents and other stakeholders in the gateway cities.  To date, we have surveyed stakeholders and tree vigor in Worcester, Chelsea, Holyoke, Fall River, Pittsfield, Chicopee, and Leominster.

Nick Geron

Graduate Student Manager

Nick Geron

Nick Geron’s research focuses on the geography of urban forests. Geron is interested in applying remote sensing to the urban landscape to facilitate monitoring of tree canopy cover and its capacity to mitigate the urban heat island effect. He is particularly interested in how urban forests can be a tool to reduce environmental (in)justice through the provision of ecosystem services to underserved communities in intensely urban areas.

Marc Healy

Graduate Student Manager

Marc Healy

Marc Healy is currently studying urban forest change and its effects on Massachusetts cities through three methods: studying the historical canopy cover change from the 1950s to the present by using a time series of aerial photos; exploring the urban heat island in three cities that are part of a state-funded tree planting program; and assessing management of recently planted trees in 14 cities by conducting interviews with tree wardens.

Previous Summer Highlights

Read the summaries of previous HERO summer research projects, along with the full video presentations and PowerPoint slides.

The theme of HERO 2019-2020 is, again, Greening the Gateway Cities, which extends our previous analysis of juvenile tree health and stewardship to two new Massachusetts gateway cities: Leominster and Pittsfield. This tree inventory and stakeholder assessment is built upon last year’s research conducted in Chicopee and Fall River in collaboration with the Department of Conservation and Recreation. We are joined this year by six Clark undergraduate students from a variety of departments and programs.

Stakeholder Summit Research Presentation

Thursday, July 11, 2019 at Clark University

Watch the full recorded presentation
View the full PowerPoint presentation

HERO 2019-2020 Media

The theme of HERO 2018-2019 is Greening the Gateway Cities where we extended our previous analysis of juvenile tree health and stewardship from Worcester to two Massachusetts gateway cities: Chicopee and Fall River. This tree inventory and stakeholder assessment built upon last year’s research conducted in Chelsea, Revere, and Holyoke in collaboration with the Department of Conservation and Recreation. We are joined this year by six Clark undergraduate students from a variety of departments and programs.

Stakeholder Summit Research Presentation

Thursday, July 12, 2018 at Clark University

Watch the full recorded presentation
View the full PowerPoint presentation

HERO 2018-2019 Media

The theme of HERO 2017-2018 was Greening the Gateway Cities, where HERO fellows extended previous analysis of juvenile tree health and stewardship from Worcester to three Massachusetts gateway cities: Chelsea, Revere, and Holyoke. This particular research focus is expected to be a multiyear effort. This tree inventory and stakeholder assessment complements the previous several years of research conducted in Worcester in collaboration with the Department of Conservation and Recreation and the Worcester Tree Initiative.

Stakeholder Summit Research Presentation

Thursday, July 13, 2017 at Clark University

Watch the full recorded presentation
View the full presentation

HERO 2017-2018 Media

During summer 2016, HERO focused on a continued analysis of tree survivorship, looking at trees planted by the Worcester Tree Initiative (WTI) and the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), including street trees; tree inventory and mapping mixed with surveys and interviews; and dynamics of the tree-planting programs and stewardship. These particular focus areas have incorporated research skills such as tree surveying and GIS/RS analysis, social research (e.g. interviews or focus groups), and qualitative data analysis.

Stakeholder Summit Research Presentation

Thursday, July 14, 2016 at Clark University

Click to watch: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5
View the full presentation

HERO 2016-2017 Media

Students in the HERO summer program presented their findings on July 30, 2015. Coverage of the tree replanting efforts in Worcester post-ALB infestation were the topics of this year’s summer study. Students assessed the health of the tree-replanting initiative conducted by Mass DCR and WTI (Worcester Tree Initiative) to replace trees the USDA APHIS (Animal Plant Health Inspection Service) had to removed to eradicate the beetle. As part of their study, these students went into the field conducting interviews with neighbors and other stakeholders, as well as surveying the health of the newly planted trees and how to continue to care for them. In the fall, HERO students will present their research to the office of the USDA APHIS in Massachusetts; at Fall Fest, an on-campus, University-wide research presentation program; and in the spring will travel to San Francisco for the American Association of Geographers annual meeting.

Stakeholder Summit Research Presentation

Thursday, July 30, 2015 at Clark University

Click to watch: Part 1 | Part 2
View the full presentation

Student Research Posters

Students in the HERO summer program presented their findings on July 31, 2014. Coverage of the Asian Longhorned Beetle Stakeholder Summit included members of the HERO summer REU site program alongside stakeholders from the local neighborhood, including residents and city and state officials who have been active in the ALB issue.

Stakeholder Summit Research Presentation

Thursday, July 31, 2014 at Clark University

Click to watch: full video
View the full presentation

HERO 2014-2015 Media

HERO 2013-2014 Media

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