By Kyle Richard and Wylie Goodman
There will be hundreds of new residents in Western Queens: street trees! And in the communities of Astoria, Woodside, Long Island City, and Sunnyside, community members are stepping up to care for these newcomers and ensure their longevity for many springs to come with the Greening Western Queens project.
In the first three to five years of life, a new tree is like an infant: it’s fragile and requires patience, love, and care. In fact, the mortality rate of newly planted trees in New York City is 40%; nearly two out of five won’t survive beyond five years.
In addition to water and sunlight, trees need protection from environmental contamination to survive the city’s harsh conditions. Since May 2011 when the Greening Western Queens project launched, residents in these neighborhoods have been learning that intensive tree care and doing the small gestures that make a huge difference not only for trees, but for broader community improvement. Stewards, for example, ensure that trees 1) stay cool in summer and warm in winter; 2) are kept free from harmful contaminates in the air and water; and 3) are maintained in a way that beautifies the community.
Sometimes we take for granted what others do for us, but a healthy tree gives back many times over by cleaning our air, cooling our homes, and beautifying our neighborhoods.
The Greening Western Queens Project is a great way for community members to return the favor to these neighborhood trees. And so we invite all those
interested to come to a tree-care training workshop this spring, and over the next three years of the GWQ project, to learn how to care for trees, or just a single tree, in your neighborhood.
With every turn of soil, drop of water, and handful of mulch, you’re improving the chances for trees in the places where you live, work, and play.
To get involved with Greening Western Queens, please contact Kyle Richard,
Community Coordinator for Partnerships for Parks, at (917) 613-5724 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.