Press Releases

Saturday, November 08, 2008
No. 125

Over 1,000 New Yorkers "Dig In" To Plant 15,000 Trees Citywide Towards One Million Tree Goal

Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe today joined Assembly Member Ellen Young and more than 250 community volunteers at Kissena Corridor Park in Flushing, Queens to help plant 2,200 trees for the citywide MillionTreesNYC Fall Volunteer Planting Day. He then joined New York Knicks players Chris Duhon, Anthony Roberson and Knicks legend John Starks in planting trees with community volunteers at Pelham Parkway in the Bronx. As part of this large scale tree planting effort which took place November 7th and 8th, more than 1,000 volunteers planted 15,000 trees at eleven forest restoration sites across the City. MillionTreesNYC, a component of Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC roadmap to create a sustainable New York City, is a public-private initiative between the City of New York and the New York Restoration Project to plant and care for one million trees across the City by the year 2017. At Kissena Corridor Park, the Commissioner was joined by Parks’ GreenApple Corps; volunteers from groups including I.S. 237, Scouts of America, Girl Scout Troop #40003, BNP Paribas; and our partner Partnerships for Parks, a joint program of the City Parks Foundation and the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation.

“New York City is becoming a more environmentally sustainable place to live, work, and visit as a result of Mayor Bloomberg’s MillionTreesNYC initiative,” said Commissioner Benepe. “Since the campaign was launched one year ago, we have planted nearly 114,000 trees, and today MillionTreesNYC volunteers have brought us another 15,000 trees closer to our goal of planting one million trees across the five boroughs. I encourage all New Yorkers to make an easy investment in the long term health of New York City by learning how to plant, preserve, and protect their neighborhood trees this fall.”

On November 8, the large scale volunteer planting effort took place at eight forest restoration sites: Canarsie Park in Brooklyn; Pelham Parkway and Hunter Island in the Bronx; Kissena Corridor and Idlewild Park in Queens; and Staten Island’s Father Macris Park, Mt. Loretto Area, and Prall’s Island. On November 7, volunteers planted at three sites: New York Botanical Garden, Randall’s Island in Manhattan, and Bayswater Park in Queens.

Kissena Corridor Park, a vision of Robert Moses, consists of continuous series of green spaces that link together much of the parkland in eastern Queens, forming a 4.5 mile “emerald necklace” from Flushing Meadows Corona Park in the west to Cunningham Park in the east. Today, portions of Kissena Corridor Park are left as natural areas while others have been developed as ballfields or playgrounds. The soil composition is full of rock, sand, silt and cobble and has low fertility, which native plants thrive in. On MillionTreesNYC Fall Planting Day, volunteers in Kissena Corridor Park planted the Eastern redbud, Tulip poplar, Blackgum, Eastern white pine, White oak, Scarlet oak, Pin oak, Chestnut oak, Sassafras, and Eastern red cedar, a species mix which is reminiscent of the variety that existed at the site before the land was cleared for farming hundreds of years ago.

Other participating volunteers and organizations included Harry S. Truman High School, Building with Books, Go Green! Team, 92nd Street Y Teen Program, and New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx; Prospect Park Alliance, Building with Books, Catholic Charities Neighborhood Services, NYU Wagner School of Public Service, New York Cares and Blue Streak Auto Club in Brooklyn; New York Restoration Project in Manhattan; Earth Day New York, New York Cares, Eastern Queens Alliance, Transportation Alternatives, and Hillcrest High School in Queens; and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, FDNY High School for Fire and Life Safety, NYC Audubon, North Shore Waterfront Conservancy of Staten Island, Natural Resource Protective Association of Staten Island, Comprehensive Development, Inc., and MillionTreesNYC Training Program Participants from the Mayor’s Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO), on Staten Island.

Through a mix of public and private plantings, MillionTreesNYC, an important initiative of PlaNYC, will expand New York City’s urban forest by 20%. Over the next ten years, Parks will receive nearly $400 million to plant 600,000 public trees by reforesting 2,000 acres of existing parkland and lining New York City streets with trees. The City’s partners, including non-profit and community organizations, businesses, developers and everyday New Yorkers will plant the remaining 400,000 trees. With nearly 114,000 trees planted since MillionTreesNYC was launched one year ago, the campaign has already exceeded its first year planting goal of 93,397 trees and is ahead of schedule. For more information about getting involved with the MillionTreesNYC initiative, visit or call 311.

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