During the 2020 Earth Day celebration, Hartford City Forester Heather Dionne—one of our city’s Unsung Heroes—talks about her love of Hartford and the outdoors.

What do you love most about your job?

There are several things I love about my job, in no particular order:

  1. Being outdoors
  2. Caring for trees, which, in my mind, are the most incredible, selfless living beings on earth
  3. Making an impact on the environment
  4. Educating and inspiring others
  5. The challenges

How does it make you feel to support Hartford during this trying time?

Any way I can be of service to the people and forest of Hartford is gratifying and brings a sense of purpose.

What are the first things you’re going to do when social distancing ends?

  1. Hug my mother
  2. Take my daughter to her three favorite places: to get ice cream, attend a Yard Goats game, and hit the beach
  3. Find a good live band and dance the night away!

How can Hartford residents be more earth-conscious?

Get outside and find your favorite tree. Ask you children to find their favorite tree as well. Teach them to appreciate all the gifts trees have to offer: clean air, beauty, a balanced and grounded connection to earth, overall health and well-being for the entire city, and uptake of excess storm water.

Plant a tree on your property. Especially a shade tree. Every tree planted in the city provides benefits to all 124,000 people who reside here. There is no greater way to make an impact. I suggest contacting a nursery to order the tree (it doesn’t have to be a huge tree, 1” in diameter, container-grown). You can pick it up and find a good location on your property to plant it. Engage your children or grandchildren, if you can, to foster stewardship. Ask your nursery to provide planting tips or contact my office so you can be assured that the tree is being planted properly.