October 9, 2007PlaNYC Initiative Will Plant One Million Trees in the Next Decade
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and New York Restoration Project (NYRP) Founder Bette Midler today launched the Million Trees NYC initiative to plant and care for one million trees throughout the five boroughs in the next decade. The Mayor and Ms. Midler planted a street tree in the Morrisania section of the Bronx – a neighborhood with too few trees and high rates of asthma – and declared the Carolina Silverbell to be the first of one million trees. Through a mix of public and private plantings, Million Trees NYC, an important initiative of PlaNYC, will expand New York City’s urban forest by 20%. All New Yorkers will share in the many benefits that come from planting trees – more beautiful neighborhoods and parks; cleaner air and water; higher property values; energy savings; cooler summer streets, yards, and public open spaces; and a healthier, more environmentally sustainable City. Million Trees NYC will get New Yorkers involved in the planting and caring of trees for the next decade. Mayor Bloomberg and Bette Midler were joined at the announcement by First Deputy Mayor Patricia E. Harris, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Rebuilding Daniel L. Doctoroff, Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe, City Planning Director Amanda M. Burden, Director of the Mayor’s Office for Long-term Planning and Sustainability Rohit T. Aggarwala, United States Forest Service Abigail (Gail) Kimbel and The Home Depot Foundation President Kelly Caffarelli.
“New York City has always been a place of big dreams and big ideas – and our Administration has never been afraid to embrace them,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Over the next decade, with our friends at the New York Restoration Project, we are going to plant an unprecedented one million new trees across the City. PlaNYC is our plan to make New York a greener, greater city and Million Trees NYC is a key part in that effort. This is an ambitious goal and to achieve it we’re going to need the help of the entire City; I’m encouraging all New Yorkers to get involved.”
“I urge every New Yorker to dig in and be a part of Million Trees NYC,” said NYRP Founder Bette Midler. “It’s the responsibility of our city’s corporations and foundations, developers, block associations, policymakers, home owners and renters – all New Yorkers – to create a million living, growing legacies that will enhance our beloved city and sustain the world for generations to come. To walk under the branches of a tree that you have planted connects you to the roots of our past and the aspirations of our future.”
“PlaNYC is one of the most comprehensive initiatives to enhance an urban environment ever undertaken by an American city, and Million Trees NYC is an important part of it,” said Deputy Mayor Doctoroff. “New York City has some of the greatest parks and most beautiful tree-lined streets in the world, but we also have too many neighborhoods and streets without sufficient coverage. Million Trees NYC will change that and will go a long way to help us create a green, sustainable New York City.”
The Parks Department will receive nearly $400 million over the next ten years to plant 600,000 public trees by reforesting 2,000 acres of existing parkland and lining New York City streets with trees. The City’s partners, including non-profit and community organizations, businesses, developers and everyday New Yorkers will plant the remaining 400,000 trees.
“Planting a million trees will make a noticeable difference around New York City,” said Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe. “Trees make neighborhoods more livable and increase property values, cool and clean the air, shelter and feed wildlife. The comforting shade of trees soothes the senses and returns us to nature, rounding out the rough edges of urban life.”
The Department of City Planning has proposed new zoning changes that would require the planting of street trees as a condition of all new developments, major enlargements and some conversions in all five boroughs. If adopted this spring, the initiative, now in public review, could generate roughly 10,000 new trees each year.
“To help fulfill the Mayor's pledge, City Planning has developed a proposal, already in public review, to require that all new developments plant street trees,” said City Planning Director Burden. “We estimate that this requirement will generate approximately 10,000 new street trees each year, helping beautify neighborhoods, cool the streets and cleanse the city's air.”
Million Trees NYC will seek to leverage every opportunity to plant trees on public land, and the Parks Department and the New York Restoration Project will enlist individuals and organizations throughout the City to plant and maintain trees on privately owned property as well. The Parks Department and NYRP will work with community partners as it assesses tree planting opportunities at places like schoolyards, public housing campuses, health care facilities, business districts, commercial and residential developments, front yards and other private lands. The initiative will include extensive outreach and education for everyone from residential and commercial developers to children. NYRP and its partners will seek the financial and in-kind support of individuals, corporations and foundations.
To support the initiative’s tree planting, stewardship and education programs, NYRP and the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City will seek the financial and in-kind support of individuals, corporations and foundations. The Mayor and Ms. Midler announced today that The Home Depot Foundation has made a $1.5 million contribution to support the initiative.
“The Million Trees NYC campaign underscores the importance of trees in urban areas and the positive impact they have on the health of local communities,” said Home Depot Foundation President Kelly Caffarelli. “At The Home Depot Foundation we like to lead by example, and as a proud partner of this project we’d like to challenge other corporations to join the effort in supporting this important initiative.”
“New York Restoration Project’s partnership with the City of New York serves as an example of how government, non-profits and the private sector can align to accomplish great things on behalf of New York City,” said Drew Becher, Executive Director of New York Restoration Project. “With every tree we plant today, an investment is being made in our neighborhoods and green spaces, the health of our residents, the strength of local economies, and most important, our planet Earth.”
There are many ways to get involved in Million Trees NYC:
Each request for a street tree will trigger an evaluation of the suggested site by a Parks department inspector. Considerations such as electrical wires, underground utilities, light posts and building entrances will be part of the inspection. If it is possible to plant a tree in the site requested, a tree planting contractor will be assigned to plant the tree in the next possible planting season, in either the spring or fall.
For more information, visit www.nyc.gov or call 311.
Million Trees NYC is one of 127 PlaNYC initiatives to make New York City more sustainable by 2030. The initiatives range from doubling the fuel efficiency of the entire New York City taxi fleet to implementing a bold congestion pricing plan to reduce car traffic, reduce air pollutants and create funding for critical mass transit projects. Together, the 127 initiatives will help meet the challenges faced by New York City as its population continues to grow by one million more by 2030, while at the same time reducing the City's greenhouse gas emissions by 30%. PlaNYC includes a $1.2 billion investment in the city’s parks and open spaces by building 800 new GreenStreets, redeveloping, expanding and improving eight regional destination parks in all five boroughs, increasing usage by installing lights and building multi-use fields, and opening 290 schoolyards as playgrounds to create new opportunities for recreation.
Stuart Loeser / Jason Post