2013-11-15 / Community

Breezy Gets Greener With Trees

Photo by Annie Watson Photo by Annie Watson This past Saturday, Cornell University Cooperative Extension – NYC conducted a Community Tree Giveaway & Planting Event in Breezy Point, involving more than 170 people. With 150 trees from New York Restoration Project and MillionTreesNYC, forty Cornell volunteers and staff, and twenty local residents helped to distribute and plant them.

Working with Habitat for Humanity of Westchester County, the morning tree giveaway took place at Christ Community Church. The registration table was busy, with residents stopping by throughout the morning to pick up their pre-registered trees and information about planting. Some trees were also available for people who were walk-ups that day.

For those who needed assistance, Gretchen Ferenz of Cornell Extension— NYC coordinated a volunteer event with Cornell alumni and staff, and 4-H teens. After Ferenz provided a brief training demonstration, teams of Cornell volunteers were dispatched to residences to plant their trees. The 4- H’ers provided much needed help by hauling and removing debris from a fire safety lane in the community.

Photo by Gretchen Ferenz Photo by Gretchen Ferenz Ferenz, a 6-year resident of Breezy Point said, “Trees are essential to our community. They are important for a whole host of reasons, from providing shade in the summer and protection from wind in the winter, providing habitat for birds and other wildlife, and filtering air pollutants. Here in the Rockaways, trees help to absorb water, especially during storms, and reduce the possibility of flooding... when trees’ roots absorb water; they minimize runoff from hard surfaces so fewer pollutants can enter our waterways.”

After Hurricane Sandy, many of the community’s trees were lost or damaged from the salt inundation. Volunteer and resident Jimmy Dalton said, “It was great seeing the faces of our elderly neighbors when we helped them plant their new trees. It's going to help brighten the neighborhood.”

The New York Restoration Project plans to provide Cornell Extension-NYC with another 150 trees for residents next spring. A new application has been submitted for an additional 500 trees and shrubs for common areas such as upland beaches, ball fields and monuments in Breezy Point.

In addition to the efforts of Habitat for Humanity of Westchester County, the Cornell Office of Alumni Affairs-Metro office and Christ Community Church, Stop & Shop of Arverne, donated lunch refreshments in support of this event. Numerous volunteers contributed their time and effort to ensure the day’s activities were a success.

If you would like to learn more or join in future “Breezy Green” events, please visit: breezypointgreencommittee.wordpress.com/

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