MillionTreesNYC Spring Planting Day

Staten Island Advance
City gets leafier, especially at Staten Island’s Conference House Park
Tuesday, May 01, 2012

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — The city grew greener by 20,000 trees on Saturday, nearly 10,000 of them planted at Conference House Park in Tottenville.

More than 400 volunteers of all ages planted 7,500 trees and 2,250 shrubs at the historic park as part of MillionTreesNYC Spring Planting Day. Shoveling along with them was Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe and a small cadre of city officials.

“We are enormously grateful to the thousands of volunteers and sponsors who donated time, energy, and funding to make MillionTreesNYC Spring 2012 Planting Day a success,” said Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe. “The 20,000 trees planted … will transform acres of parkland into new, ecologically healthy, multi-story forests, increasing the host of environmental benefits already provided by our urban forest.”

MillionTreesNYC is a public-private partnership between the city Department of Parks & Recreation and Bette Midler’s New York Restoration Project, through which one million trees will be planted and cared for throughout the five boroughs by 2017. The initiative has surpassed its halfway mark with 563,953 trees planted prior to Saturday’s plantings.

“The reforestation completed on this day will benefit all New Yorkers with a replenished canopy that will provide cleaner air, protect water quality and provide wildlife habitat, among other benefits,” said Amy Freitag, executive director of New York Restoration Project.

According to the Parks Department, the trees are planted close together “to close the canopy gap.” A department spokeswoman said, “We want the branches to touch to prevent sunlight from coming through to the forest floor, which prevents weeds from growing.” Those weeds compete for precious soil resources, she added.

The day was not all work and no play. Food and supplies were delivered throughout the day by the Department of Citywide Administrative Services and Department of Citywide Administrative Services. Equinox Fitness Clubs provided instructors to lead a Shape Up NYC stretching program before the planting event, and Urban Park Rangers led nature walks and tours of the Conference House Museum.

The balance of the day’s 20,000 trees were planted in Wolfe’s Pond Park, Prince’s Bay; Clearview Park, Crocheron Park, and Powell’s Cove in Queens, and Pelham Bay Park and Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx.

Participating corporate volunteer groups included Bloomberg LP, Con Edison and Random House Publishing. In addition, over 155 volunteers from the Mayor’s Office and 100 volunteers from the Department of Youth and Community Development’s Young Men’s Initiative pitched in, with 1,600 more volunteers participating citywide.

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