New York City Will Plant Its One Millionth Tree
A tree grows in…the Bronx.
And not just any tree. New York is planting its one millionth tree in Joyce Kilmer Park in the South Bronx as part of an eight-year plan to fight climate change.
The tree, an eight-year-old lacebark elm that is 25 feet tall and 6,500 pound, is so important that NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg will be on hand to finish off the planting.
The epic tree planting is part of a 2007 initiative called MillionTreesNYC, a partnership between the city and the New York Restoration Project. Together, they planned to plant a million trees throughout the city by 2017, but it looks like they are two years ahead of schedule. The campaign increased the city’s total tree population by about 20 percent.
“Each of these trees is a symbol of our city’s efforts to build a more resilient and equitable city for New Yorkers across the five boroughs,” de Blasio said in a statement. “This one millionth tree planting highlights what New Yorkers can do when we work together for the greater good of our city.”
Most of the trees were planted in underrepresented neighborhoods that had poor canopy cover and ones that would not be able to afford planting trees on their own.
“Trees do a lot,” Denise Hoffman Brandt, director of the Graduate Landscape Architecture Program at the City College of New York, told the New York Times. “Trees create shade. So you don’t have sun hitting the pavement and creating a heat island effect. And mature trees have a big impact on carbon storage.”
Prior to the project, the U.S. Forest Service determined that NYC had 24% canopy cover; scientists generally recommend that an urban setting should have at least 30%. Now, NYC has surpassed its target.
“The campaign to plant a million trees has been wildly successful,” said Councilman Mark D. Levine, the chairman of the parks committee to the Times. “Now we need to follow it up with a campaign titled ‘Love a Tree,’ where New Yorkers step up to be stewards of trees on their block and the city puts in the resources needed to help these trees thrive in a very harsh urban environment.”
*Though the event was scheduled for Oct. 21, according to MillionTreesNYC it has since been rescheduled for a later date.