The Manuel F. Correllus State Forest gained 10 trees Tuesday morning in celebration of the 10-year anniversary of Healthy Aging Martha’s Vineyard — an organization that supports the Island’s growing senior population.

Leaders and supporters of the organization gathered at the Sanderson avenue state forest entrance with hot coffee and doughnuts to witness the planting of the trees and revel in the group’s decade of accomplishments.

As trees grow tall and mature, their contributions to the surrounding environment become only richer, said board co-chair Bob Laskowski, addressing the crowd. People are no different than trees, he continued, and the forest’s 10 additions serve as a reminder.

“We need to make appropriate investments to assure that in later years [the trees are] as healthy as possible and filled with joy and satisfaction, as we should with people,” he said.

Healthy Aging Martha's Vineyard officials and supporters gathered at the state forest Tuesday morning. — Mark Alan Lovewell

Mr. Laskowski shared that he has a Vineyard origin story similar to that of many Island seniors. After retiring, he and his wife moved to their longtime summer home on the Island to live year-round. Soon he met Paddy Moore and the two began brainstorming ways to make the Vineyard more aging-friendly, meeting weekly with a small group in the basement conference hall of the West Tisbury library for years.

The result of those meetings was the founding of Healthy Aging Martha’s Vineyard by Ms. Moore, who also spoke at Tuesday morning’s celebration.

“Somewhere, some long time ago, people started to realize that across this country and across the world the older population is growing,” Ms. Moore said. “The Vineyard has managed to do it faster than many, many, many other communities.”

Since its founding, Healthy Aging has collaborated with organizations across the Island, including the councils on aging, YMCA, libraries and Martha’s Vineyard Hospital to create programs that fulfill the needs of the Vineyard’s senior residents. In 2020, it conducted an Islandwide survey to assess the quality of life on the Island for older adults and their satisfaction with health management and community engagement opportunities.

“We got almost 2,500 responses, and it really gave us a foundation and accurate picture of how we live, what we need and how we contribute to our community,” said executive director Cindy Trish. “We’ve now taken those insights and voices and put together a five-year community action plan.”

The action plan was submitted to the American Association of Retired Persons and the World Health Organization and, as a result, the Vineyard is a certified aging-friendly community, said Ms. Trish.

On Nov. 14, the organization is hosting a Community Mobilization Summit at the Grange Hall in West Tisbury. From noon to 6 p.m., guest speakers will give presentations about the unique experience of aging on the Vineyard.

“That [event] will be a call to action.... We want to get people motivated to take aging seriously on the Island,” said Katie Gilbert, an event planner working with Healthy Aging. “But today, we’re here to celebrate.”

As the first tree was lowered into the ground, the audience cheered, snapping photos of the forest’s newest arrivals.

For more information about Healthy Aging Martha’s Vineyard and to register for the Community Mobilization Summit, visit