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New York Restoration Project Founder Bette Midler And Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe Dig Into MillionTreesNYC Month With Hundreds Of Volunteers On Arbor Day

Friday, April 25, 2008
No. 37

Commissioner Adrian Benepe and New York Restoration Project (NYRP) Founder Bette Midler were joined today by Oscar® winning actress Marcia Gay Harden, singer-songwriter Brendan James, Blue Man Group and adult and youth volunteers for an Arbor Day community celebration and tree planting event in McCarren Park in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. The 500 volunteers included 200 employees from MillionTreesNYC Month sponsor BNP Paribas, members of the Brooklyn community and New York City public school students from Children for Children who turned out in celebration of an extremely successful MillionTreesNYC Month. Volunteers planted 130 trees in several locations around the neighborhood of McCarren Park including: the park, surrounding streets, adjacent schoolyards and green spaces. The crowd was also treated to special performances by musical guests including: The Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Blue Man Group and singer-songwriter Brendan James followed by a picnic lunch.

MillionTreesNYC Month, presented by BNP Paribas, coincides with the arrival of spring to raise public awareness for MillionTreesNYC, a public-private partnership between the Department of Parks & Recreation and the New York Restoration Project (NYRP) through which one million new trees will be planted and cared for throughout the five boroughs by 2017. The month of events featured numerous citywide tree-planting and education initiatives, and will culminate with a Greenhouse display at Union Square and Columbus Circle, sponsored by BNP Paribas, to collect donations for MillionTreesNYC and educate the public on the important role trees play in our urban environment.

“Thanks to MillionTreesNYC, a joint initiative of the City and New York Restoration Project, New York City is well on its way to becoming greener, leafier, and healthier,” said Commissioner Benepe. “Arbor Day is a tree-rrific way for New Yorkers to roll up their sleeves and help plant a tree; there are Arbor Day planting events throughout the City and each tree planted brings us closer to our million tree goal.”

During MillionTreesNYC Month this April 2008, MillionTreesNYC launched a campaign encouraging all New Yorkers to “think globally and plant locally” by joining the City’s historic undertaking to expand New York City’s urban forest by 20 percent. Throughout the month, Parks, NYRP, and MillionTreesNYC partners have hosted free citywide events for the public including tree education seminars, tree stewardship workshops, tree pruning instructional courses, Urban Park Ranger tree identification hikes, and large scale volunteer tree plantings, including the planting of 20,000 by New York Cares volunteers on April 12 – the largest number of trees ever planted in New York City on a single day.

“This Arbor Day we are celebrating the thousands of New Yorkers and volunteers who have helped us put nearly 55,000 trees in the ground since MillionTreesNYC launched last October,” said Drew Becher, Executive Director of New York Restoration Project. “Every volunteer sets an example for all New Yorkers to dig in and support this great initiative to plant and care for one million new trees throughout the five boroughs by 2017.”

MillionTreesNYC Month is sponsored by BNP Paribas, a European leader in global banking and financial services with a long-standing commitment to the environment and social responsibility. Through its sponsorship, BNP Paribas will donate 1,200 trees to home owners and families citywide in early May and will be raising funds internally through an employee fundraiser to green a public school. BNP Paribas has also created a temporary MillionTreesNYC Greenhouse that will be placed in Union Square and Columbus Circle as a venue to help encourage all New Yorkers to get involved in local sustainability initiatives and raise funds to support MillionTreesNYC. The Union Square Greenhouse was on display today at the Arbor Day event in McCarren Park for New Yorkers to get a sneak preview and will be transported to its temporary home in Union Square Park for the public to visit from April 26-29 and Columbus Circle on April 30. BNP Paribas volunteers will be on hand to staff the greenhouse and provide information about trees.

"BNP Paribas is very excited about the traveling Greenhouse and its journey around New York City in the coming days,” said BNP Paribas North America’s CEO Everett Schenk. “We are confident that the Greenhouse will greatly enhance this project by encouraging and enabling New Yorkers to make donations. Our employees are very proud to volunteer their time to help make New York greener.”

MillionTreesNYC is also supported by lead sponsors Toyota and The Home Depot Foundation. In addition to the initiative’s lead sponsors, corporate and individual donors, 65-member Advisory Community and community partners, other not-for-profit partners play a key role in the success of MillionTreesNYC. Children for Children (CFC), a New York not-for-profit founded by parents to foster community involvement and social responsibility in young people, had more than 200 youth volunteers on hand from New York City public schools across the five boroughs participating in the MillionTreesNYC Arbor Day event.

“MillionTreesNYC is an inspiring program that brings together the greater New York community to invest in the future by investing in our environment,” said Maggie Jones, executive director of Children for Children. “It is so exciting to see so many young people uniting to make our city cleaner and greener.”

Over the next ten years, through a mix of public and private plantings, MillionTreesNYC partners and citizen volunteers are planting in places such as schoolyards and playgrounds, public housing campuses, museums and libraries, business districts, commercial and residential developments, front yards and other private lands. All New Yorkers will share in the many benefits that come from planting trees ­ more beautiful neighborhoods and parks; cleaner air and water; higher property values; energy savings; cooler summer streets, yards, and public open spaces; and a healthier, more environmentally sustainable New York City.

To learn more about MillionTreesNYC, visit or call 311.


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