After our latest Grange Hall meeting, we sat down with Consulting Arborist Norm Helie to discuss all things trees and parks. Read our interview here. 

What is your favorite park?

That’s a hard question. I tend to gravitate towards the Common … the history of it – the longer history. I met Henry Davis to discuss the Elms up by the State House, and that memory is what draws me up there a lot. But, I do love them all. I love walking through the Mall, I feel at peace there. I also love the Public Garden for the fact that it grows trees so easily. It has better soil than the Common and much better productivity for growth. 

What is your favorite park memory?

The thrill of the hunt for Dutch Elm Disease in the Public Garden – 3E30, an American Elm – and finding that breeding infection and tracing it back to a large part of the tree and getting it out. At first, I thought it was squirrel damage, and the work that went into it, and the effort… I thought we would be there for an hour, but it ended up being almost six hours to cut that branch out. But we got it out, and the tree is still there! And I always think of that as “Wow, what a great day.” It was a long day of work, but I ended up saving an American Elm. I’ll always remember the people from Bartlett Tree Company that I worked with that day.

What’s your favorite thing about working with the Friends?

The support that I get. Their dedication to the greenspace… we have a common alliance towards helping trees in these most difficult spots. I think that support is very important to me, that they support my work and all of the research that Chris (Helie, consulting entomologist) and I do.