Recognizing the important role street trees play in an urban environment, on May 4th, the Human Impacts Institute (Hii) is partnering up with Nautica volunteers and Green School students to participate together to launch our urban street tree program: Growing Our Roots. With plants donated from the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation’s Greenbelt Native Plant Center in Staten Island, we will be planting native-species perennials in street tree beds, aerating the soil, and mulching tree pits.
The Growing Our Roots program of the Human Impacts Institute is an official Green Points Education Partner of the Million Trees Program of New York City. This program involves communities in issues of environmental health, climate change, sustainable water management, and creative gardening practices through local tree stewardship. Engaging community members in street tree care is crucial because trees in an urban environment are critical to the health and well-being of a neighborhood. They absorb carbon–reducing climate change and the urban heat island effect–reduce stormwater runoff and Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs), clean the air, add beauty to urban areas, increase property value, and provide shade, among many other benefits.
For the kick-off of the Growing our Roots program, the Human Impacts Institute will focus on trees in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Williamsburg, NYC. We are inviting community leaders and businesses to join in the Human Impacts Institute’s ongoing efforts to create a more sustainable community, one block at a time. Hii looks forward to the upcoming event. We are excited to continue working with schools in the future to educate communities on the importance of the environment, to promote sustainability, and to beautify our neighborhoods.
by Melissa Mitchell, 2011 Human Impacts Institute Environmental Education Intern