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Brooklynites show NYC’s urban forest some love on City of Forest Day

From Prospect Park to the Brooklyn Heights Promenade

October 17, 2022 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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Hundreds of Brooklynites came out on a Saturday to celebrate the city’s urban forest on the first-ever City of Forest Day. 

This special day gave residents the opportunity to learn about the importance of the urban tree canopy, which serves as the “lungs” of the city, and show some love by shoveling compost and cleaning habitat.

Numerous tree-oriented events were held across Brooklyn. These included guided walking tours, litter pick up and leaf raking in Prospect Park; lessons on street tree care in East New York and Gowanus; mulching and composting in Fort Greene; and a garden tour and lesson on Honey locusts on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. 

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More than 60 volunteers gathered at Prospect Park’s Lookout Hill to mulch paths and remove invasive trees. Families also stopped by the Prospect Park Audubon Center to enjoy nature crafts, learn about the urban forest’s leaves, participate in an educational nature walk and more. Councilmember Shahana Hanif and Assemblymember Robert Carroll joined the activities, working alongside the volunteers.

“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,” Prospect Park Alliance Interim President James Snow said in a statement.

Other events took place in Downtown Brooklyn, Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Greenpoint and across the entire city, totaling more than 50 in all.

Families stopped by the Prospect Park Audubon Center to enjoy nature crafts and learn about the urban forest’s leaves on NYC’s first City of Forest Day. Photo by Caroline Ourso, courtesy of Prospect Park Alliance

The citywide event was presented by Forest for All NYC in partnership with the Parks and Open Space Partners – NYC Coalition and the city’s Department of Parks. Forest for All NYC is a coalition of more than 60 organizations, with The Nature Conservancy as a leading member. 

The goal of the coalition is to increase the New York City tree canopy cover to at least 30 percent coverage by 2035 (up from 22 percent in 2017), in an equitable manner across the city.

“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,” said Emily Nobel Maxwell, Cities Director for The Nature Conservancy in New York.

Volunteers put their backs into shoveling mulch in Prospect Park for NYC’s first City of Forest Day. Photo by Caroline Ourso, courtesy of Prospect Park Alliance

“Building a better city means prioritizing nature like this, with the power to transform our communities and create safer, healthier neighborhoods for all,” Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso said. 

New York City is home to more than 7 million trees, and hundreds of acres of parks and woodlands. “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,”  said NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue.

(Center left) Councilmember Shahana Hanif and James Snow, COO & CFO at Prospect Park Alliance, and other volunteers shoveled mulch on NYC’s first City of Forest Day.
Photo by Caroline Ourso, courtesy of Prospect Park Alliance

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