Groups to give away over 200 trees in Forest Hills
by Michael Perlman
May 07, 2014 | 8125 views | 0 0 comments | 138 138 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A photo from a previous tree giveaway event.
A photo from a previous tree giveaway event.
On Sunday, May 18, from 1 to 3 p.m., residents from across the city will line up in MacDonald Park on Queens Boulevard and 70th Avenue and take home a tree or two among 200 free trees to plant outside their house or building.

This bi-annual event, typically held in May and October, will be the sixth Forest Hills Tree Giveaway since 2011, and bring the total number of adopted trees to 1,045. Most trees will find their new homes locally, but some will give new life to other boroughs.

The event is made possible through a partnership between Four Borough Neighborhood Preservation Alliance (4BNPA), New York Restoration Project (NYRP) and MillionTreesNYC. The lead sponsors are Toyota and TD Bank, and the lead partners are plaNYC, NYC Parks, and NYRP, which began hosting tree giveaways in 2008. A supporting sponsor is jetBlue Airways.

Volunteers for the event come from Rego-Forest Preservation Council, Trylon Vet Care, Forest Hills Jewish Center, the Forest Hills Green Team and the Compost Collective. Forest Hills resident Michele Dore will volunteer for the first time this year.

“I am new in this wonderful neighborhood, and I am really excited,” Dore said. “Greening the city is critical not only for appearances, but for our health. I would be more than delighted if each of the 200 trees can find a good family to grow with.”

As of 2011, 4BNPA had the mission of advocating for landmarks and curbing overdevelopment, but began realizing how environmental preservation is a significant complement to the city’s architectural achievements.

Extreme weather patterns intensified over the last few years, and caused numerous trees to succumb within seconds. Despite the losses, it emphasized the benefits behind preserving mature trees and planting new ones. Trees enhance property values and character, mark a community’s history, and filter and cool the air, among numerous other benefits.

Volunteers Tara Levin and her husband Mark have adopted nine trees over the years for their Rego Park apartment building and a nearby private park, and they naturally became tree stewards.

“We are greening, and they are blooming and growing,” said Tara. “A person who cares for trees has a positive personality. Most of our population likes trees, but a problem is a deficit of land to plant them, since we are covered in asphalt.”

To help build an instant connection with the neighborhood, trees are being named after local landmarks, streets, and notable residents by volunteer Steve Goodman, who will distribute certificates. Adopters will be photographed with their trees, and nature-inspired artwork will be designed by Oliloli Studio and the Queens Paideia School.

Over the years, the Forest Hills Tree Giveaway has become a tradition for all ages.

“It is a great opportunity to meet new friends from children to seniors,” said Tara, who recalls four young sisters who volunteered with their Newfoundland dog at their side, as well as triplet boys who asked many questions about adopting Black Walnut trees.

To reserve your tree, click here.

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