Hug A Tree NYC

Over the past year, in these difficult times, nature has been our refuge. Our parks are where we’ve been able to go to get fresh air, exercise, and to see our friends and neighbors from a safe social distance.

Our city’s trees have supported us through thick and thin—keeping our city cool and our lungs healthy. To show your appreciation for our trees…why not give them a hug? It’s okay!

About our Trees

New York City is home to more than 7 million trees, including more than 200 species. Trees beautify our city streets, soften the hard edges of concrete and brick, and are a source of pride for New Yorkers.

A sign safely tied to a tree that reads "It’s okay to hug me."

Benefits of Trees

Did you know our trees do far more than make New York City look good? Here are even more reasons to hug a tree.

Removing Carbon Dioxide

Global temperatures have been increasing since the late 19th century as human activity has led more greenhouse gases to become trapped in the atmosphere. Urban forests have been recognized as important storage sites for carbon dioxide, the primary greenhouse gas.

Blocking Noise Pollution

Cities can be noisy places to live. In some areas loud noise is almost constant, coming from airports and busy streets and highways, and construction sites. Trees help block noise pollution.

Reducing Air Pollution

Trees reduce air pollution both by filtering pollutants directly and reducing energy costs in nearby buildings. Trees in NYC remove roughly 1,100 tons of pollutants from the air each year, helping keep New Yorkers healthy!

Absorbing Stormwater

Trees help absorb and release water during heavy rainstorms through a process called evapotranspiration. This process helps prevent flooding during storms, holds our soil in place and prevents erosion, and keeps our bays and beaches clean by preventing water from overwhelming our combined sewer system.

Providing Habitat for Wildlife

Trees provide a habitat for a variety of wildlife species that call NYC home, from common ones like squirrels and pigeons to rarer ones such as salamanders and beavers. Trees also offer shelter and food sources for pollinators such as bees and butterflies, and provide nests for more than 200 species of migratory birds along the Atlantic Flyway.

Lowering Air Temperature

Because New York City is made mostly of hard, reflective surfaces like concrete and glass, during the summer, the temperature can be on average 10 degrees warmer than outside the city limits. Through shade and transpiration, trees keep hot temperatures in check. Water released by trees turns to vapor, reducing temperatures and helping New Yorkers stay cool.

Improving Mental and Physical Wellbeing 

Our bodies are improved with their proximity to nature! Studies have found that being near trees reduces stress, elevates mood, lowers blood pressure, boosts our immune systems, helps us recover faster from surgery, and decreases our odds of developing psychological disorders.

 

How to Help

Want to do more than hug a tree? Stewarding or caring for trees can make them three times more likely to survive. Help us make sure that NYC’s urban forest grows healthy and strong!

Section of map showing different size and color circles representing trees, over a street map

Visit the NYC Street Tree Map

Explore and care for NYC’s urban forest with this map of every street tree in New York City. Find trees near you, learn more about them, and record your volunteer efforts.

Visit the NYC Street Tree Map

A volunteer plants a sapling near another tree in a park.

Become an NYC Parks Steward

Become a steward of NYC’s green spaces! Help restore our forests and wetlands, protect and plant trees, and meet New Yorkers who are committed to the environment.

Become an NYC Parks Steward

A group of volunteers with rakes smooth down much in a park

Volunteer with Partnerships for Parks

Helping starts in your backyard. Partnerships for Parks is an organization that can connect you to volunteer opportunities in your neighborhood, so you can help your local parks thrive.

Volunteer with Partnerships for Parks

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