Community Canopy - Street Tree Campaign Update

Depending on local decisions and audiences, Green Maps are often printed on paper. Of course, this impacts trees, and leads to the question, how can we give back? 

As described in our Spring 2019 post, our street tree and stewardship campaign was started on Valentine’s Day, with love for nature in our home community, the Lower East Side of New York City. The Lower East Side, which has 165,000 residents and a real shortage of parks, street trees and greenery. According to the City's terrific map of street trees, tree-map.nycgovparks.org, our community board district, CB3, which includes the LES, Chinatown and East Village - has just 5,000 Street Trees.

Trees are so beneficial! We all appreciate the leafy shade and singing birds plus these 5,000 provide us with $600,000 in energy conservation, CO2 reduction, storm water capture and pollutant removal, all of which help mitigate climate change and protect our health. That's $120 per tree per year. Wendy's campaign is focused on this simple statement: let's get moving now on planting more street trees and reinvigorating tree stewardship.

Tree Stewardship fits the Circular Economy model: design out waste and pollution, keep products and materials in use, regenerate natural systems. Trees:
- absorb pollution including CO2; conserve energy
- trees can live decades; leaves, fruit, all materials break down into soil 
- regenerative aspects include stormwater capture, beautiful habitat and shade

On Valentine's Day, our director made a short statement and her draft Resolution was accepted and adapted by CB3 on February 26, 2019! Download the LES Community Tree Canopy Resolution at bit.ly/CB3trees19.

Now, one year later, there is progress to report! 

March 2019 - 1,000 Street Trees promised by Parks for CB3!

September 2019 - the first two LES Community Canopy (both Native) Trees were planted!

October 2019 - Street Tree Task Force is convened for CB3 and CB6, as now the 1,000 trees were to be spread across the two districts. 

November 2019 - ReNature.NYC (website to come) is formed in partnership with groups across the 5 boroughs

February 2020 -  Tree walks and task force meeting planned by NYC Parks, along with a Progress Report for CB3

February 2020 -  An ‘Instructable’ for replicating the effort in your community was posted on Public Lab. Add your thoughts there!

March-April 2020 - COVID-19 disrupts planting and tree care workshops, but daily short walks are good for cateloguing empty tree pits. NYC has planted over 300 trees since fall 2019 - all are from earlier requests, it takes time for LES Canopy Trees contracts to be signed!

Spring 2020 - The importance of clean air saving lives underscores the value of street trees, as seen in this NY Times article.

We look forward to the resumption of the stewardship program and for the LES Community Canopy planting, too!  

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