New York, NY – Today, Forest for All NYC, in partnership with the Parks and Open Space Partners NYC and New York City Parks, launched the first-ever City of Forest Day. This special day of action educates New Yorkers about the benefits of our urban tree canopy and encourages participation in the ongoing stewardship of trees across the city. It features activities for New Yorkers to learn about, care for, and celebrate the NYC urban forest and the role it serves as the “lungs” of our city.
More than 50 events are taking place across all five boroughs, including a guided walking tour in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, Spanish- and English-speaking educators helping children send thank you notes to trees in Queens, applying locally produced compost to trees on the Lower East Side, a trail clean up and invasive species removal in Riverdale Park in the Bronx, and restoration work in Staten Island’s North Mount Loretto State Forest. These events will span different parts of our urban forest, from street trees to forested natural areas.
“Forest for All NYC is thrilled that together with our partners, we are offering over 50 free events that are taking place in every borough,” said Emily Nobel Maxwell, Cities Director for The Nature Conservancy in New York. “The enthusiasm and excitement for our inaugural City of Forest Day demonstrates the love New Yorkers have for their urban forest, and highlights the tremendous opportunity for tree stewardship and care across the city. Stewardship and public engagement are crucial elements of equitably growing the NYC urban forest – key goals of the NYC Urban Forest Agenda. As New Yorkers face the realities of climate change, caring for our urban forest so that it helps mitigate flooding and extreme heat is critical to the health, quality of life, and future of all New Yorkers.”
“We are thrilled to join Forest for All NYC, and all of the partners in this great coalition, as we kick off the first-ever City of Forest Day, with the goal of bringing increased awareness about the New York City urban forest to New Yorkers,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue. “Our trees are a vital resource, offering a wide range of benefits to New Yorkers, and we will continue to champion their protection and expansion in every corner of the city, now and into the future.”
“Trees don’t just make our communities greener, they improve our mental health, they save lives. Hundreds of New Yorkers die every year from extreme heat, primarily in neighborhoods that lack an adequate tree canopy,” said Council Member Shekar Krishnan, Chair of the Committee on Parks and Recreation. “We need to plant more trees and get to a 30% tree canopy cover by 2035. I thank Forest for All NYC for organizing the first City of Forest Day, a day that promises to lead us towards a healthier and greener future for New York City.”
“Jam-packed with activities for New Yorkers young and old, this first-ever City of Forest Day is a beautiful celebration of the trees that line our streets, fill our parks, and offer us shade on those hot summer days,” said Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso. “Building a better city means prioritizing nature like this, with the power to transform our communities and create safer, healthier neighborhoods for all. Thank you to Forest for All NYC, Parks and Open Space Partners NYC, and the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation for combining joy with the urgent call to action to restore, defend, and expand our urban forest.”
“Cultivating and preserving our forests found in New York City will be critical to protecting our environment against the hazards of climate change while providing New Yorkers with green outdoor spaces to rejuvenate and enjoy – all within our City’s borders,” said Bronx Borough President Vanessa L. Gibson. “I want to thank The Nature Conservancy, NYC Parks and Recreation and Parks and Open Space Partners for their work in launching the first-ever City of Forest Day to raise awareness around our forests and the benefits they bring us each day.”
“New York City needs to become global stewards of the urban forest movement by making significant investments and implementing policies that will help protect and grow the forest of our city’s future,” said Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine. “The success of today’s inaugural City of Forest Day underscores that a healthy and vibrant urban tree canopy is key to protecting all of us from the impacts and risks associated with climate change while improving the health and wellbeing of all our communities.”
“Trees cool us, beautify our neighborhoods, cleanse our environment and so much more. It’s why my office is working hard to grow our forestry footprint here in Queens and it’s why I’m proud to celebrate the first-ever City of Forest Day,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. “Our canopy is critical to the health and wellness of our environment and our borough as a whole. It’s incumbent on us all to play our part in protecting these natural gifts and ensuring the lungs of our city continue to breathe deep for decades to come.”
New Yorkers interested in participating in this exciting day can find a complete list of all the free events by visiting our website (ForestforAll.nyc). Also, join and access the conversation about the New York City urban forest on our social media handle (@ForestforAllNYC).
Forest for All NYC is a diverse coalition of over 60 organizations across business, nonprofit, conservation, and environmental justice sectors committed to protecting, maintaining, and growing the New York City urban forest through the implementation of the NYC Urban Forest Agenda. The Nature Conservancy is the convener and a leading member of Forest for All NYC. The coalition seeks to increase the New York City tree canopy cover to at least 30% coverage by 2035 (up from 22% in 2017), in an equitable manner across the city, and this can only be achieved through the engagement of all New Yorkers to help care for the urban forest. City of Forest Day honors the coalition’s commitment in its agenda to establish a Citywide Educational and Tree Stewardship Event.
A healthy urban forest is essential critical living infrastructure for a healthy city—providing crucial habitat for wildlife, cleaning our air and water, cooling our neighborhoods, and improving our health and well-being. In New York City, the well-being of its 8-plus million people and the more than 7 million trees are intrinsically linked, and yet the urban forest lacks sufficient protections and investments. The outpouring of support that the inaugural City of Forest Day has generated helps demonstrate the broad and diverse interest New Yorkers across different communities have in supporting their urban forest. Forest for All NYC calls for sufficient funding and effective policy to protect and enhance the urban forest to match the significant public interest and combat the impacts of climate change.
“The Natural Areas Conservancy is thrilled to partner on City of Forest Day,” said Sarah Charlop-Powers, Executive Director, Natural Areas Conservancy. “We are committed to the care and celebration of NYC’s forested natural areas, which provide important spaces of refuge for New Yorkers.”
“The power of a tree’s work for the public good is extraordinary and needs to be celebrated! We are incredibly proud to partner with so many amazing organizations on the first annual City of Forest Day,” said Trees New York Executive Director Nelson Villarrubia. “Participating in a City of Forest Day is an excellent way for New Yorkers to connect with the outdoors and find comfort under our City’s tree canopy!”
“As home to Brooklyn’s last remaining forest, Prospect Park Alliance recognizes the importance of City of Forest Day to raise awareness of the City’s essential urban forest and enable the public to participate in its care,” said Prospect Park Alliance Interim President James Snow. “We are looking forward to hosting a diverse array of events including a volunteer woodland restoration project, nature education programs, and a walking tour of our woodlands.”
“We are proud to care for 60 acres of urban forest in Riverside Park. The forest is a quiet partner in everything we do – it’s a home for our wildlife, a natural agent for cooling and filtering our air, and a tranquil space for our bodies to breathe and connect with the earth,” said Riverside Park Conservancy President Merritt Birnbaum. “We are continuously looking for ways to be better stewards of this critical green infrastructure. City of Forest Day is helping to shine a light on how much more needs to be done to provide all our city’s forests with the understanding and protection they deserve.”
“Madison Square Park Conservancy is excited to be part of the inaugural City of Forest Day,” said Madison Square Park Conservancy Executive Director Holly Leicht. “As a level 2 arboretum, Madison Square Park is small but mighty, and we welcome this timely opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of protecting and investing in New York City’s urban forest.”
“James Baldwin Outdoor Learning Center (JBOLC) is committed to helping restore healthy, healing and mutually beneficial human contact and engagements with nature,” said Director Raymond Pultinas. “We feel this is especially crucial to urban dwellers, who are too often distracted by the human-built environment and all its material attachments. On City of Forest Day, we will express our Tree Love by leading a team of community volunteers and students to care for neighboring street trees and plant daffodils and tulips.”
“The Randall’s Island Park Alliance (RIPA) is excited to be part of City of Forest Day, with events that span the five boroughs, celebrating the positive impact of trees on the health of our communities and of our ecosystem,” said Randall’s Island Park Alliance President Deborah Maher. “We hope that visitors and event attendees will enjoy the festivities and benefit from learning about the 5,000+ trees that can be found at Randall’s Island Park”
“New York Restoration Project is thrilled to support the inaugural City of Forest Day. We have stewarded our local forests since our founding in 1995 and were proud partners with NYC Parks to complete the MillionTreesNYC campaign in 2015,” said New York Restoration Project Executive Director Lynn B. Kelly. “Today, we maintain over 80 acres of mostly forested parkland in Northern Manhattan and enthusiastically support Forest for All’s initiative to achieve 30 percent tree coverage for New York City by 2035.”
“Governors Island’s unique urban forest provides countless benefits for Island visitors and all New Yorkers, ultimately helping make our city a healthier place to live,” said The Trust for Governors Island Arborist Malcolm Gore. “We are thrilled to participate in Forest for All NYC’s first ever City of Forest Day and to help empower New Yorkers to take action to protect and steward our city’s urban forest.”
“Trees should be fixtures in every neighborhood and business district in New York City because we, as humans, need the presence of nature in our lives, for its emotional and environmental benefits, today more than ever,” said Len Maniace, Journalist, author-publicist, and board member of Jackson Heights Beautification Group. “In the face of global warming trees are our ally: Trees are Mother Nature’s air conditioners.”
“Trees and greenspace are critical resources to New Yorkers. Our research underscores that engaging in environmental stewardship can be a catalyst for revitalization and improve social cohesion and sense of place,” Erika Svendsen, PhD, Research Social Scientist, US Forest Service. “City of Forest Day is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate trees and the many ways they protect us, provide for us, and inspire us every day.”
“City of Forest Day has helped our historical society gain exposure for this wonderful 175th Anniversary Celebration of New York City’s first living landmark – The Weeping Beech Tree of Flushing,” said Queens Historical Society Executive Director Jason D. Antos.
“The answer is in the forest and if you don’t have one nearby, gather friends and start planting native regional trees,” said iDig2Learn founder Christina Delfico. “We have added nearly 100 new trees on Roosevelt Island, including vital Oaks, and are committed to caring for them! It’s a win-win for people and wildlife alike.”
For more information about Forest for All NYC and the NYC Urban Forest Agenda, please visit https://forestforall.nyc/.
Forest for All NYC is a broad coalition advancing the NYC Urban Forest Agenda to create a healthy, accessible, and lasting urban forest that equitably delivers benefits to all. Learn more at ForestforAll.nyc. Follow us on social media: Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
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