Youth and Community Members Care for Fifty Local Trees

Join the Human Impacts Institute’s next tree care opportunity at our FREE, open-to-the-public tree stewardship workshop on Saturday, November 5th, 2011 from 10:30am-12pm at the Greenpoint Public Library in Brooklyn. Learn how to care for your local trees!


On October 8th, 2011, as a part of the Growing Our Roots program, the Human Impacts Institute’s (HII) hosted a community stewardship day with high school students from the Greenpoint YMCA. Local students and community members were invited to come out to American Playground in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY, and take part in tree care activities around the neighborhood.

Street tree care is important because, amongst many other things, it can significantly reduce pollution in air and water ways as well as greatly increase the aesthetic value of a neighborhood. As Human Impacts Institute’s Executive Director, Tara DePorte, commented, “Bringing volunteers to help care for street trees and trees in our local parks is crucial to supporting the living environment of our communities and to supplement the small number of City staff that care for trees. We need our volunteers.” As volunteers built up a sweat on the 80 degree October day, smiles spread across their faces as they transformed grey-soiled, garbage and dog waste strewn tree pits into healthy, mulch-filled areas.


Over 25 youth and community volunteers participated in what was

Greenpoint Democratic State Committeeman Lincoln Restler Digs In!

the Human Impacts Institute’s first open-to-the-public, tree care event. Volunteers included local teens, father-son duos, passersby, and even one of the Greenpoint’s elected officials, Democratic State Committeeman Lincoln Restler. Some volunteers learned aerating and mulching techniques from HII staff–trying out their gardening skills for the first time–while many youth volunteers had gardening experience from local summer programs.

After nearly five hours of hard work, participants successfully cared for 50 trees in and around American Playground. Some community members living around the area came by the thank volunteers for their efforts, including one local resident who took photos of volunteers caring for the tree in front of his house, commenting, “It’s so important what you guys are doing. Thank you.”

The Growing Our Roots program of the Human Impacts Institute involves communities in issues of environmental health, climate change, sustainable water management, and creative gardening practices through local tree stewardship. As an official Green Points Challenge Education Partner of the Million Trees Program of New York City, Growing Our Roots is also working to engage local classrooms in caring for their trees and their communities. HII is looking forward to other upcoming tree stewardship events including an open-to-the public, free tree care workshop in partnership with Trees NY at Greenpoint Public Library on November 5th from 10:30am-12pm. Come on out!

Father-son duo take tree care seriously!


The Open Space Alliance for North Brooklyn lent tools and materials for the event including trowels, gloves, wheel barrows, shovels, and rakes. They also coordinated with the Department of Parks and Recreation to deliver a mulch pile, which volunteers where proud to use up on local trees!

A special thank you to the NYCEF Newtown Creek Fund and Open Space Alliance for supporting this program.

By Melissa Mitchell, Human Impacts Institute Environmental Educator

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