On Sunday, October 13, from 1 to 3 p.m., residents will once again line up in MacDonald Park on Queens Boulevard and 70th Avenue for the chance to take home a tree or two among the 150 that will be distributed. Adopters will then plant their tree outside a privately owned house or building.
The event is possible through a partnership between the Four Borough Neighborhood Preservation Alliance (4BNPA), New York Restoration Project (NYRP) and MillionTreesNYC. Lead sponsors are Toyota and TD Bank.
In addition to the 4BNPA, volunteers include the Rego-Forest Preservation Council, Trylon Vet Care, Rego Park–Forest Hills Lions Club, Queens Boulevard Restoration Group, Queens Paideia School, and Aguilar Gardens. Forest Hills Jewish Center and Key Food will also play a role.
On October 13, those who wish to adopt a tree should line up before 1 p.m. at MacDonald Park.
The event will be 4BNPA’s fifth tree giveaway since June 2011, which will bring its total donations up to 800 trees. Adopters can select from four varieties, which will consist of 50 Tulip, 50 Sweetbay Magnolias, 25 Pagoda Dogwoods, and 25 Allegheny Serviceberry trees.
NYRP began coordinating tree giveaways in 2008. As of 2011, 4BNPA had the mission of advocating for landmarks and curbing overdevelopment, but began realizing how restoring NYC’s tree canopy is a significant complement to the city’s architectural achievements.
Many residents did not realize the benefits of trees until century-old specimens succumbed in seconds during the September 2010 macroburst, which was followed by Hurricane Irene and Hurricane Sandy. Trees enhance a community’s aesthetics, property values, and environmental sustainability.
“Trees clean our air and water, reducing run-off and filtering particulate matter from the air for generations,” said Mike Mitchell of NYRP. “The value of a city’s urban forest will only increase as rainstorms become more severe and levels of particulate matter increase.”
By the end of 2015, NYRP will have given away 30,000 trees, completing the program. Tree giveaways could continue beyond 2015, as long as there are community group partners.
"As awesome as it is to give trees away, I can't explain how amazing it is to rip concrete out of the ground and stick a tree in there," Mitchell said at an August event honoring volunteers.
As adopters plant trees, they also plant roots to stories that will unfold over generations and bond community residents. Some take photos alongside their tree and coordinate tree planting ceremonies, as in the case of residents of The Fontaine.
At the Quality Gardens and Ruskin Gardens co-ops, volunteers spanning all ages planted trees, and documented their work on a blog.
With hopes that each tree adopter will feel as if their tree is part of their extended family, volunteer Steve Goodman is designing tree adoption certificates. Trees will be named after historic sites such as the Trylon Theater, notable figures such as Helen Keller, and historic street names such as Roman Avenue.
To reserve a tree and view photos and specifications, visit www.treegiveaways.com/4boro. “Like” Forest Hills Tree Giveaways on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ForestHillsTreeGiveaways.