Second annual City of Forest Day bigger and better

October 14, 2023 Special from Forest For All, NYC
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Today, Forest for All NYC, in partnership with the Parks and Open Space Partners NYC and New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, celebrates the second-annual City of Forest Day. Building on the incredible success of 2022’s inaugural event, this major 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 its role as the “lungs” of our city.

This year, New Yorkers are participating in more than 75 events across all five boroughs, especially economically disadvantaged communities, including street tree care on the Lower East Side, tree planting at the New York Botanical Garden, forest restoration at Pelham Bay Park, a guided tree walk in Staten Island, nature exploration at The Boathouse at Prospect Park, and a community forest mural at Queen’s Children’s Library Discovery Center. Additionally, the day includes events held in Mandarin, Bengali, and Spanish and over 30 will be family-friendly! These events help educate New Yorkers about the importance of and how to care for our urban forest.

In the year since City of Forest Day 2022, New Yorkers have seen a wave of support for the maintenance and investment in our tree canopy, equitably. Earlier this year, Mayor Adams included Forest for All NYC’s goal of reaching at least 30% canopy cover citywide in his administration’s updated PlaNYC policy report. Just this fall, City Council unanimously passed two vital pieces of legislation that collectively will contribute to a greener, healthier, more just, resilient New York City. Intro 1065 bill mandates New York City’s first citywide urban forest plan as well as ongoing tree canopy monitoring. Intro 1066 amends the City Charter to include the long overdue consideration of trees and tree canopy in the City’s long-term planning. These are notable achievements in equitably improving and expanding the NYC urban forest and Forest for All NYC will continue to connect New Yorkers to the urban forest.

Tree planting. Photo: Prospect Park Alliance

“The second annual City of Forest Day shows the love that New Yorkers have for the urban forest, just one reason it matters so much, said Emily Nobel Maxwell, Cities Director for The Nature Conservancy in New York and Lead Convener of Forest for All NYC. The enthusiasm and excitement that’s going into each of the more than 75 events citywide demonstrates how deeply communities value the urban forest, and highlights the tremendous opportunity for tree stewardship and care, as well as connections to nature, across the city. Stewardship and public engagement are crucial elements of equitably growing the NYC urban forest – a key goal of the NYC Urban Forest Agenda. As New Yorkers face the realities of climate change, caring for our urban forest which helps mitigate flooding and extreme heat is critical to the health, quality of life, and future of all New Yorkers.”

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“We are delighted to celebrate trees and building community around our urban forest in partnership with so many important organizations across the region during City of Forest Day,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue. “With over 20 NYC Parks sponsored events, contributing to over 75 taking place across the city, we hope that this important program shines a spotlight on our green spaces, and motivates even more New Yorkers to volunteer and take ownership of our vast urban forest.”

“City of Forest Day matters to City Parks Foundation because urban forests matter to our students! Our Green Girls take their advocacy seriously,” said Mayra Sanchez, Green Girls Program Manager at City Parks Foundation. “For City of Forest Day 2023, CityParks Green Girls is teaming up with NYC Parks Stewardship Team for street tree care, plus microscope and leaf painting activities. Local residents will get to know trees through a scientific and artistic lens in Sunset Park, a very different, and positive way to view science and stewardship!”

“We are excited to celebrate City of Forest Day with the rest of New York City,” said Patrick Foster, Regional Director for New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. “Protecting and preserving New York’s forests is critical and supporting our urban forests is especially important to help address climate change impacts to overburdened communities. We hope that you can join our dedicated Environmental Educators at Mt. Loretto Unique Area in Staten Island to celebrate our shared work to strengthen our forests.”

“New York City’s urban forest, including Prospect Park’s 30,000 trees, is an essential community resource and vital habitat for wildlife,” says Prospect Park Alliance President, Morgan Monaco. “Every one of us needs to appreciate and do our part for our hardworking city trees, which do so much to improve our air quality and make life more beautiful. Prospect Park Alliance is excited to take part in the second City of Forest Day with volunteer opportunities, woodland walks and family-friendly nature activities for our community.”

Forest for All NYC is a diverse coalition of over 115 organizations across the business, nonprofit, conservation, and environmental justice sectors committed to protecting, maintaining, and growing the New York City urban forest by implementing the NYC Urban Forest Agenda. The Nature Conservancy is the convener and a leading Forest for All NYC member. 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 to establishing a citywide educational and tree stewardship event.

Tree planting. Photo: Prospect Park Alliance

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