BUHS grad conducts tree study in Worcester

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WORCESTER, Mass. — Meyru C. Bhanti, a Clark University student from Brattleboro spent the summer measuring and assessing the condition of trees planted along city streets and in residents' yards across Worcester as part of an initiative that could affect the health of thousands of trees — and people. Her work was funded by Clark University through the John T. O'Connor '78 Endowed Fund for Environmental Studies.

Since 2012, Human-Environment Regional Observatory fellows have monitored the health of trees replanted in the Worcester area after the invasion of the Asian longhorned beetle. In July, Bhanti and the HERO team presented findings to an audience of research partners from the Worcester Tree Initiative, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

"A lack of healthy trees can cause an urban heat island effect, with higher temperatures that are especially dangerous for vulnerable communities, the elderly and those living in older housing stock," Bhanti said, on the importance of her work. Planting trees can mitigate these effects.

Bhanti will spend the 2017/18 academic year working on an individual research project. She will present her research next spring at Clark's Academic Spree Day and at the American Association of Geographers' annual meeting in New Orleans.

Bhanti is a member of the class of 2018; she double majors in environmental science and geography. She is a Traina Scholar, as well as a Carlson Fellow and is a member of the South Asian Students Association at Clark. She graduated from Brattleboro Union High School in 2014.

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