PLANTING SEEDS FOR THE FUTURE
Honor Green Group For F.H. Park Project
by Robert Pozarycki
The New York Restoration Project’s (NYRP) efforts to bring more trees to Forest Hills and other neighborhoods across the city highlighted the Forest Hills Community and Civic Association’s (FHCCA) meeting last Tuesday, June 14, at Continental Post 1424.
Pauli Evanson and Brian Ross of the non profit beautification group spoke about the organization’s work to renovate neglected park spaces across the city over the last 16 years and its participation in the city’s Mil lionTreesNYC Program to plant new timber on streets and open spaces around the five boroughs.
Founded by actress Bette Midler in 1995, NYRP was born at a time when the city’s parks “weren’t the best they could be,” Evanson said. As the city was facing economic chal lenges, the budget for renovating and maintaining parks was low, she said.
Having moved back to New York during the mid 1990s, Evanson stated, Midler had become troubled with neglected conditions inside Riverside and Fort Washington parks in upper Manhattan and launched NYRP in order to do something about it. Over the next decade, the or ganization would work with public and private partners to renovate and clean both public spaces as well as other nearby parklands.
Though NYRP has focused most of their projects in Manhattan, the or ganization has worked to replant trees in Brooklyn and Queens which were destroyed by tornadoes and a microburst that struck the boroughs last September. Ross noted that NYRP, through its participation in the city’s MillionTreesNYC program and partnership with jetBlue airlines, helped plant over 70 trees at Mac Donald Park in Forest Hills in April and planted others in additional spaces around the community, in cluding near the Forest Hills Jewish Center and several local public schools.
Hundreds of volunteers were mo bilized for the April planting at Mac Donald Park, and over 100 residents
SEE FHCCA ON PG. 67 also turned out on June 12 for a tree giveaway held by NYRP at the Forest Hills greenspace. According to Ross, trees were given out on a first come, first served basis to residents in order to be planted in front or back yards.
“They really flew off the shelves,” he said regarding the giveaway, not ing that the demand was so great that the saplings were “gone in about an hour.”
In other parts of Queens, Ross ex plained, NYRP staff and designers work with schools, universities, hos pitals and other large areas to plant trees in spaces wherever feasible. He noted that most recently, the organi zation worked with St. John’s Uni versity in Jamaica to plant new trees around its parking lots.
Evanson highlighted other pro grams operated by the NYRP, includ ing “Gardens for the City,” which assists local volunteers in building and maintaining their own commu nity gardens; “Seed Savers,” which provides organic seeds to groups who wish to plant flowers, fruits and veg etables in their neighborhoods; and tree care workshops, where residents learn how to care for their street trees.
Ross urged homeowners and res idents to do their part to help street trees survive by keeping debris and waste out of tree pits, pulling up weeds, installing a tree guard around the pit and planting small plants within the tree bed.
For their efforts to restore Mac Donald Park and beautify the com munity, FHCCA President Barbara Stuchinski presented the NYRP rep resentatives with the organization’s “Good Neighbor Award.”