October means tree planting season with NYC Parks. It’s that time of year when thousands of volunteers come together to plant new street trees throughout the five boroughs, including more than 350 street trees in Far Rockaway alone. This fall, NYC Parks will plant by the block in Parkchester, West Farms, Fordham Manor, Bronxwood, and Bronxdale in the Bronx; East New York and Sunset Park in Brooklyn; the Rockaways and St. Albans in Queens; and Bulls Head, Great Kills, and Pleasant Plains in Staten Island. And those are just some of the areas.
Historically, the maritime communities including the Rockaways have suffered environmental abuse now being addressed by environmentalists within the Parks department and without. Restoration includes the removal of debris and vines, and very importantly, replanting with native trees, shrubs, herbs and grasses that will help enhance a network of coastal habitats for migrating birds, improve waterfront access for residents and visitors, and create a more resilient buffer for the community in the face of a changing climate. Trees clean the air, too, and provide shade and cool ambient temperatures in the warmer months. They provide shelter for wildlife and, of course, beautify our city.
We invite you to check out all the ways you can volunteer to help care for the newly planted trees on streets and in parks throughout the Rockaways. If you are eighteenyears old or older, you can become a tree steward and get free training and tools. Just as important as planting new trees is caring for them. MillionTreesNYC offers an array of stewardship programs to get New Yorkers outside and lending some “TreeLC” to our leafy friends. You can find tons of resources for tree care on www.milliontreesnyc.org, including our “TreeLC library” with tips for watering, mulching, and planting flowers in tree beds as well as our “Adopt-a- Tree” map which you can use to locate trees in your neighborhood. Check out the community calendar on the MillionTreesNYC web site for upcoming tree care workshops and events in your neck of the woods and throughout the city at http://www.milliontreesnyc.org/html/calendar/calendar.shtml.
Not only does NYC Parks provide resources and stewardship opportunities for street trees, we want volunteers to help care for the tens of thousands of new forest trees planted last spring across all five boroughs. You can help to take care of your neighborhood’s newest green asset—your growing forests which function as the lungs of the city and contribute to a healthy ecosystem in a meaningful way that can inspire your friends and family and connect you directly to part of what makes our urban greenscape great. Volunteers help pull weeds, remove invasive vegetation, add mulch, and clean up litter building in the areas in which we reforest. It’s a great activity for students, parents, retirees, and nature-lovers of all kinds. To find out more about reforestation tree care projects, visit NYC Parks’ Natural Areas Volunteers web page: http://www.nycgovparks.org/registration/nav or call (212)360-3318.
Morgan Monaco is the Director of MillionTreesNYC for NYC Parks.