One of the hundreds of trees New York Restoration Project has planted in Melrose and Mott Haven in The South Bronx—including tree guards!
One of the hundreds of trees New York Restoration Project has planted in Melrose and Mott Haven in The South Bronx—including tree guards!

The New York Restoration Project, founded by Bette Midler in 1995 with the mission to bring green spaces as well as upgrade existing green spaces across New York City, particularly underserved areas and that everyone should be within walking to green spaces.

You may recall that the Divine Miss M herself had adopted several miles of The Bronx River Parkway as part of the beautification of the roadway.

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Now the organization is planting 825 trees across the South Bronx but with an added twist: They’re also installing tree guards, something which I noticed while walking through Melrose.

According to Anne Tan-Detchkov, Director of Marketing & Communications New York Restoration Project (NYRP), the planting of these trees is, “…part of New York City’s 1 Million Trees program.”

Working hard away at Melrose Houses planting beautiful new trees thanks to New York Restoration Project/ Image Credit Anna Yatskevich for NYRP
Working hard away at Melrose Houses planting beautiful new trees thanks to New York Restoration Project/ Image Credit Anna Yatskevich for NYRP

Not only are the trees going to provide extra shade and more cooling of our streets but will also help clean up our much polluted air and provide energy savings.

The vast majority of the trees will be planted on NYCHA property with the remainder going to schools, street replantings and parks.

“During the spring and fall planting seasons in 2015, the trees will be planted in key properties throughout the South Bronx that are selected in need of greening, including 550 trees on select New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) housing developments, 100 in NYC Parks, 40 at New York State Department of Education (NYS DOE) schools and 35 along roadway medians; and 100 replanted street trees. 

As part of the project, a two-year stewardship plan will also be implemented with the help of The Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO) and Trees New York, to ensure long-term health of the trees. CEO will provide tree maintenance job-readiness training in the basics of tree care and maintenance, to perform tasks such as weeding and mulching tree pits, watering trees, and other such necessary jobs. Trees New York will conduct community tree care training workshops and citizen pruner classes to educate residents and businesses on how to ensure optimal health of trees.

“We are deeply committed to greening the South Bronx and look forward to bringing so many new trees to the area,” said Deborah Marton, NYRP Executive Director. “Trees mitigate the heat island effect and fortify community health by cleaning air and water, encouraging physical activity and reducing energy usage.” 
 
The 825 trees to be planted are estimated to absorb 20,625 pounds of carbon dioxide per year, with carbon sequestration increasing approximately 40 percent each year as the trees grow. Within the first year of planting, the trees will help save approximately $23,100 in energy costs, with an additional 10 percent each year the trees grow.” – via NYRP 

Image Credit Anna Yatskevich for NYRP
Image Credit Anna Yatskevich for NYRP

Some of the NYCHA developments where planting has begun and will continue are St Mary’s Park Houses, Patterson Houses, Mott Haven Houses, Mitchel Houses, and Millbrook Houses which will be receiving magnolias, and willow oak, and tulip trees to name a few.

This is a really exciting program as it is one offered by many organizations to engage our youth and communities to be stewards of our natural resources and learn how to take care of them.

With limited city funding, it is crucial that we, as residents of our beloved Bronx and city, that we take a little time to take care of the little corners we all inhabit.

The results of such actions and behaviors only strengthen communities engaging residents across a multigenerational spectrum and all sorts of socio-economic barriers.

I hope that within my life time, I can see a Bronx (and the rest of the city) that is fully tree-lined regardless of where you go and tree pits full of flowers planted by our children and community members where we can truly stake claim to our neighborhoods.

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