Creative Tree Guards Come to Brooklyn Businesses

Have you noticed the iron railings surrounding trees growing along the streets in your neighborhood? Tree guards come in all shapes, colors, and sizes, however, they typically look like miniature fences. While they appear unassuming, these railings protect trees from human traffic, animal waste, and errant trash or litter, which in turn, allows the tree to grow healthily, purifying the air and retaining water runoff.

With the help of Million Trees NYC, the Human Impacts Institute (HII) will adapt the standard tree guard and create a colorful and artistic rendition. HII has casually labelled it ‘Tree Guard Art’- a facet of urban street art. A mini-grant from MillionTrees supplied the funds for two sturdy, low-cost tree guards made from pine wood. Youth and community members will paint boards with the intention of depicting a greener urban community. The tree guards will be awarded to two local businesses, participating in HII’s EcoPrenuers Program, who have adopted trees and cared for them during the summer months.

In June of 2012, HII met up with Green School students and Million Trees NYC for a creative afternoon of designing and painting some of the pickets. The event was part of HII’s Growing Our Roots Program and students designed pickets with words and images that captured their vision of a sustainable community– trees, buildings, flowers, and more. The tree guards will be assembled and awarded in August. Until then, we will continue painting the pickets at outreach events. Upcoming Growing our Roots events include:

Tree Stewardship Day

Thursday, July 19th, 5:30pm-7pm

Meet us at 5:30pm at Rodney Park, On the corner of South 3rd St and Rodney St, Brooklyn NYCome after work to help protect local street trees from the heat of the summer. We’ll be aerating the soil, mulching and preparing the tree pits for fall plantings of native species! All are welcome. Tools supplied and no gardening experience necessary.

A special thanks for MillionTreesNYC, the Open Space Alliance for North Brooklyn, and the Green School for all your help!

By Tess Clark, 2012 Human Impacts Institute Environmental Education Intern

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