David Meshoulam '92 is leading the movement for equitable urban forest in the Boston region
David Meshoulam '92 is Co-founder and Executive Director of Speak For the Trees (SFTT), a nonprofit in Boston that seeks to increase the size and health of Boston’s urban canopy as trees provide various environmental and health benefits. In many urban areas, tree canopy is unequally distributed leading to inequitable access to the benefits of trees. Speak For The Trees’ focus is on under-canopied neighborhoods, such as East Boston, that have less than 10% canopy coverage. David’s team is working to protect existing trees and empowering residents to plant new trees in their own communities. Since 2019, SFFT has given away over 2,000 free trees.
Before starting SFTT, David helped create a small pilot program for youth in his home community of Watertown. Watertown's Teens for Trees, a 6-week summer program, taught teens about Watertown’s urban forest. The program was in its fourth year, and thriving, when it was paused due to Covid. David aims to resume this summer. Speak For the Trees also has a youth component, the Teen Urban Tree Corps program, through which youth from the Boston area collect data on street trees and empty planting sites, learn about the importance of their community forests, and advocate for their local trees as an environmental justice issue.
From an early age, David has always been interested in science and protecting the environment. He launched Shady Hill’s first recycling program and recalls his teacher Ralph Wales and then-Head of School Joe Segar as being “extremely encouraging.” Three decades later, armed with a master’s degree in the History of Science and a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction, David is leading the movement for equitable urban forest in the Boston area and inspiring a next generation of environmental advocates.