The latest casualty in the war on trees is a beautiful grove of healthy 40-year-old Zelkova trees along Rt. 9 in Framingham, Massachusetts. For years I have admired them, an oasis of shaded green nature miraculously surviving along a miles-long commercial sprawl running from Wellesley. I appreciate these trees as a hope in the wasteland of our midnight hour on this planet.

The owners of Shopper’s World, one of the first suburban shopping malls in the country, have decided to raze several buildings for reconstruction, and 26 of the trees along with them. The trees have been there happily for 30 years, in defiance of the trend, and one might have considered them safe. But because we live in a world that does not see trees or forest, they are now ribboned for removal, development and improvement, requiring almost by definition that trees be cut.

It should be a problem for all of us, that with all that room in the mall to work with they couldn’t stay away from the trees. We live in a culture that is disconnected from the natural world that sustains us, now at our peril, expressed as simply in the fate of a stand of trees along the highway as any other marker of the environmental catastrophe soon upon us. To look at the plans (FS, 4/21/2021) it just looks like the erasure of green dots in a grid. To get out of the car and look at the trees themselves is a different matter. The developers will argue that they are only taking half of the trees, but it is right through the middle of the grove, and destroys the special protected space that has survived. How is it that a grove of well-established trees is not seen as a treasure to be fostered?

Can’t a change be made to leave the trees alone? What is the cost burden of a new set of plans, that might even use the grove creatively, to the advantage of a professed” internal pedestrian network at Shopper’s World”?


Video by Christian Herold
shot Easter Day 2022


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