Student “tree doctors” help spruce up part of Marine Park

October 16, 2013 Heather Chin
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More than 40 students and adults from I.S. 62 in Ditmas Park and Frederick Douglass Academy Middle School in Starrett City got a lesson in how to be “tree doctors” via tree stewardship and learning how to take care of the environment at a community service field trip to Marine Park on Tuesday, October 8.

Sponsored by the New York City Parks Department through its MillionTreesNYC campaign, the NY/NJ Super Bowl Host Committee, and the NFL, the event saw the middle schoolers learning about the importance of foliage for shade, tree roots for soil stability, and spreading mulch while removing invasive weeds and litter.

“I’m excited [because] it will be a fun new experience, helping the environment,” said Tesaneyah Dan, a seventh grader from Starrett City. Her classmates agreed.

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“You get to help people, animals, and the environment, and [to] bring more oxygen to the world,” said Jacques Jean-Mary, 11.

I.S. 62 student Matthew Lambert, 13, said that he once did an environmental cleanup with his old school, and he enjoyed “helping the environment, keeping it clean for fresh air, and making sure the planet will always be here.

“Planting is the funnest [community service activity because] it gets you more active outside,” Lambert added. “It’s good for your health.”

Both participating schools have community-service oriented curriculums, and the day’s activities in tree stewardship were also utilized as part of ongoing science and ESL lessons, said Frederick Douglass teachers Louis DeVivo and Rena Rubin.

According to MillionTreesNYC Director Morgan Monaco, who greeted the students, the line of newly planted trees will help reforest a sparse area within the Gerritsen Beach and Marine Park neighborhoods, which were already lacking in tree canopies before Superstorm Sandy hit.

“Even before Sandy, this area needed it,” Monaco explained. “Different species [were chosen] that can adapt to this climate and the challenge now is to get volunteers to help look after them—to be our tree doctors.”

The Marine Park tree stewardship day was part of TreeLC Week—a week-long event leading to a big tree planting project at Rockaway Community Park on Saturday, October 19, when 20,000 trees and 5,000 shrubs will be planted.

Since starting in 2007, over 776,000 trees have been planted throughout the five boroughs.

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