In early June, Peter Meleney sat in the Oak Bluffs Library surrounded by some of his fellow climate-concerned Islanders. They were arranged in a circle, taking turns sharing their anxieties about the warming planet and ideas for climate mitigation.

When it came time for Mr. Meleney to speak, he proposed the simplest and most natural climate change combat strategy he could think of: planting trees.

“I took a little trip with my wife awhile ago, and someone on our travels asked me what my passion is,” said Mr. Meleney. “Well, I thought, my passion is simply planting trees.”

Since his proposal that day, Mr. Meleney has joined forces with other tree-passionate Vineyarders to form the Oak Bluffs Tree Stewards — a group dedicated to planting native trees in parks and green spaces around Oak Bluffs. In just four months, the Tree Stewards have raised over $5,000.

Dana Hughes, Antone Lima snd Peter Meleney dig in. — Mark Alan Lowell

On Saturday, Oct. 28 the group had its inaugural tree planting at Niantic, Nashawena and Wesleyan parks in Oak Bluffs. With the help of 26 volunteers, they planted 10 trees, a mix of white and scarlet oak, serviceberry, elm and other native tree species.

“This has all moved just so fast it’s truly amazing,” said Mr. Meleney. “Everything really just came together the last few months.”

Mr. Meleney’s main tree-planting partner is Kelly Joyce, a part-time Oak Bluffs resident who spends her off-Island time in Philadelphia teaching at Drexel University and planting trees there with another climate action group. The two were strangers until they met at the climate meeting in June, and have since become an inseparable duo of dendrophiles rallying Islanders to invest in nature’s own carbon-capturing system.

“During our first few meetings together, we were just trying to figure out logistics,” said Ms. Joyce. “Like, how much is this going to cost? How do we start raising money? What nurseries are we going to use? That’s where the parks commission came in.”

Parks commission chair Antone Lima helped the two determine the best types of trees to plant and where they are needed most in Oak Bluffs by examining a 2016 study of the town’s tree health and inventory.

Kelly Joyce, co-founder of the Oak Bluffs tree stewards talks to the crowd. — Mark Alan Lovewell

The study, which was conducted by contractor Bradford & Associates, found that two thirds of the trees growing in Oak Bluffs’ Cottage City and Copeland districts were in fair or poor health. Most of the trees were oaks, said Mr. Lima, and although that is fitting for the town’s name it is not good for the town’s overall tree biodiversity.

“I also wanted to get involved planting trees here because I’ve seen the loss of the trees in our parks as they get sunnier and hotter,” said Ms. Joyce, who was born and raised in Oak Bluffs. “You really need the shade to cool things off and make parks enjoyable in July and August. So we want to make the parks more enjoyable in the summer, and of course [the trees] help with the big climate change issue, too.”

The tree stewards also decided to plant only bare root trees, which are lighter and thus easier for non-professional community plantings. Sourcing them, however, can be costly and inconvenient, said Ms. Joyce.

“There’s no nurseries that carry bare root trees in Massachusetts,” said Ms. Joyce. “The only two I know of in the area are in upstate New York so we have to order them and pick them up off-Island.”

“So much of this is about community involvement and education,” she added. “It’s up to all of us to plant them, water them and keep them alive now.”

After Saturday’s successful planting, the tree stewards are already making plans for a second event in the spring.

“[Saturday was] really just the first round,” said Ms. Joyce. “And we plan to work our way through all of the parks in Oak Bluffs. We certainly don’t want anyone who lives near or uses other parks to feel left out that they’re not getting a share.”