In just eight years, the city of New York has increased its total tree population by about 20 percent.
The Big Apple is celebrating the planting of its one millionth tree in Joyce Kilmer Park this year as part of an eight-year effort to fight climate change.
The millionth tree, which is a 25-foot tall, 6,500-pound eight-year-old lacebark elm, is so important, NYC Mayor’s Bill de Blasio and former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg will be nearby when it’s planted in the ground.
As the New York Times reports, the monumental achievement is part of a 2007 initiative called MillionTreesNYC, which is a partnership between the city and the New York Restoration Project. Together, they planned to plant a million trees throughout the city by 2017. In awesome fashion, they’re two years ahead of schedule!
The campaign increased the city’s total tree population by about 20%.
Said Mayor de Blasio in a statement:
“Each of these trees is a symbol of our city’s efforts to build a more resilient and equitable city for New Yorkers across the five boroughs. This one millionth tree planting highlights what New Yorkers can do when we work together for the greater good of our city.”
Trees have been proven to boost one’s health and affluence, so it’s good news that a majority of the trees planted in New York were in underrepresented neighborhoods that had poor canopy cover. Many were also planted in neighborhoods that would not be able to afford trees on their own.
In addition, it’s well-known that mature trees have a big impact on carbon storage. According to the U.S. Forest Service, prior to the project, NYC had a 24% canopy cover. Scientists recommend that an urban setting should have at least 30%. Now, the epicenter of action has surpassed that target!
Said Councilman Mark D. Levine, the chairman of the parks committee:
“The campaign to plant a million trees has been wildly successful. Now we need to follow it up with a campaign titled ‘Love a Tree,’ where New Yorkers step up to be stewards of trees on their block and the city puts in the resources needed to help these trees thrive in a very harsh urban environment.”
*The event was scheduled for October 21st, but according to MillionTreesNYC, has since been rescheduled for a later date.
This story was originally published on True Activist.