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Joyce Kilmer Park

The Daily Plant : Tuesday, November 24, 2015

NYC Parks Celebrates One Millionth Tree With Bronx Community Members

Malcolm Pinckney

On Friday, November 20, 2015, NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP, joined Mayor Bill de Blasio, former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and New York Restoration Project’s Bette Midler to celebrate the planting of the one millionth tree of the MillionTreesNYC initiative two years ahead of schedule and encourage all New Yorkers to make a pledge to adopt and care for trees in their communities. Together they planted tree number 1,017,634, an American linden, at Joyce Kilmer Park in the Bronx. NYRP Executive Director Deborah Marton, elected officials, third graders from PS 35 Franz Siegel, and dedicated volunteers, also joined the event.

“We are enormously grateful to the thousands of volunteers, sponsors, and partners who donated time, energy, and funding to make MillionTreesNYC so successful,” said Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver, FAICP. “MillionTreesNYC was an unprecedented initiative in New York City and has become a renowned greening model used internationally. It has led to a host of valuable research regarding urban greening efforts and has transformed acres of parkland and streets into new, ecologically healthy, multi-story forests that provide benefits to all New Yorkers. Through the Mayor’s Community Parks Initiative (CPI), we will continue to make strides in creating an environmentally equitable city, engage New Yorkers in their parks in new and exciting ways, and reimagine our open spaces together.”

“I want to thank Mayor Bloomberg for helping us build a more resilient, greener city for all New Yorkers. This one millionth tree highlights what New Yorkers can do when we work together for the greater good of our city, and is a strong example of the impact that volunteers are having in and around our communities every day,” said Mayor de Blasio. “Today is a major achievement in this city’s vision for a healthier, more sustainable city, and one that we are carrying forward through OneNYC.”

“We planted tree number one just down the road eight years ago and we've added one million more thanks to the dedication of so many: Mayor de Blasio and his team who carried the work through, our founding partner Bette Midler, the New York Restoration Project, dozens of members of our Administration and more than 50,000 volunteers,” said 108th Mayor of New York City Mike Bloomberg. “Each new tree planted makes our city a little more beautiful, the air we breathe a little cleaner, and our carbon footprint a little smaller. MillionTreesNYC was an important part of our comprehensive sustainability plan, which has led to New Yorkers breathing the cleanest air our city has had in 50 years. We worked extremely hard to expand and strengthen our parks, particularly in low-income communities. Seeing tree number one million take root is something we can all be proud of.”

New York Restoration Project Founder Bette Midler said “There are now one million more reasons why New York is the greatest city in the world. Nine years ago, planting one million trees was a far-fetched idea. Today, we’ve done the impossible. One million trees means that every single New Yorker has a little more green space in their life. I’ve always loved this city, but I’ve never been more proud to call it home. Tonight, we’re lighting the Empire State Building, New York’s most beloved skyscraper, in forest green to symbolize the city becoming more sustainable and a healthier place for all of its citizens.”

MillionTreesNYC is a public-private partnership between NYC Parks and Bette Midler’s New York Restoration Project, through which one million new trees were planted and cared for throughout the City’s five boroughs. The initiative was a key aspect of NYC Parks’ mission to create a healthier, greener, and more equitable city. MillionTreesNYC expanded the City’s urban forest by nearly 20 percent, providing New Yorkers with important health, economic and environmental benefits, and created a more sustainable urban environment. Since its launch in October 2007, public, private and non-profit organizations have rallied nearly 50,000 citizen volunteers to plant trees in what has become an unprecedented tree planting campaign and urban environmental movement. To learn more about getting involved in NYC Parks’ greening and stewardship efforts, visit or call 311.

This initiative would not have been possible without the support of dedicated presenting sponsors including TD Bank, Toyota, and Jet Blue, as well as the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, Bloomberg Philanthropies, David Rockefeller and the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation, BNP Paribas, The Home Depot, American Express, Con Edison, CIT, US Forest Service, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, The Wells Fargo Foundation, Tiffany & Company Foundation, and Citigroup, Inc..

Mayor Bloomberg allocated more than $350 million towards this monumental effort through the PlaNYC initiative and NYRP contributed an additional $30 million through private funding. Today, Mayor de Blasio is moving the City’s sustainability and resiliency vision forward through OneNYC, a plan for a strong and just city. Together with all New Yorkers, the de Blasio administration is acting on its plan for growth, sustainability, resiliency, and equity. Thanks to additional funding remaining in the budget, the City will continue to aggressively plant new trees, exceeding the one million already planted by planting an additional 150,000 new trees over the next three years. The City is also developing new strategic tree planting targets, including working with the Office of Sustainability to combat heat islands, working with DEP on stormwater mitigation and bioswales, and in Mayor de Blasio’s new OneNYC initiative Parks without Borders, which envisions a seamless public realm that improves access to public space and uses trees to create green pathways and boundaries.

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