Milford’s second tree giveaway honors Martin Hardiman

MILFORD — The success of last year’s tree giveaway has city officials looking to take a second bite of the apple, this time in honor of Martin Hardiman.

Jeremy Grant, Milford’s open space and sustainability manager, said the city is preparing to the second annual tree giveaway on April 23, at which time more than 500 trees will be given away at Eisenhower Park from 8 a.m. to noon. In the end, Grant said 1,000 trees will be given away over the past two years.

“Last year was an incredibly smooth event,” Grant said. “We had such amazing volunteers that all stepped up to get everything running safely and efficiently. Because of the overwhelmingly positive response from the city, we had the opportunity to bring it back this year.”

Earth Day is April 22, and because the tree giveaway is on April 23, Grant said the event is to celebrate Earth Day and Arbor Day because it falls right in between them.

The event will also be a tribute to Hardiman, a former longtime alderman, Board of Education member and a founder of the Irish Heritage Society, who died March 5.

“Marty was such a wonderful person and did so much for Milford. He spent more than 40 years volunteering, serving on boards and commissions,” Grant said. “He touched the lives of so many people, and this is a small way to pay tribute to him.”

The decision to honor Hardiman with the giveaway came from conversations with the conservation commission, tree commission, the mayor, and others, Grant said.

The pickup format will be the same as in 2021, with a drive-thru style.

“We have gotten responses this year, and I was expecting it to be large this year because people have been talking about it and how much they loved it,” said Grant. “We are on track right now to have more first-day registrations than last year. We’ve had more than 200 today (March 28) since we opened the registration at 9:30 a.m.”

Grant said he hasn’t gotten into the analytics of registered people, but most of them are new participants this year.

Like last year, the trees will be one per household, explained Grant, because of the tremendous response they received last year.

“All these trees will be pre-registered, and by pre-registering the trees, people know what they are getting ahead of time, and they can plan the right tree in the right place,” he said. “We will be providing planting instructions with every single tree that is handed out. There are also videos people can watch on the website, and in the confirmation email, there is a link to a short video on how to plant a tree.”