New York Restoration Project giving away thousands of free trees to make a greener NYC

Lucy Yang Image
Tuesday, April 23, 2024
Nonprofit giving away free trees to make a greener NYC
Lucy Yang has more on New York Restoration Project's latest efforts.

INWOOD, Manhattan (WABC) -- Every weekend in the spring, the New York Restoration Project hands out free trees to New Yorkers.

3,500 saplings are ready to sink roots into backyards and frontyards, making the city a little greener one tree at a time.

On Monday, Joseph Hernandez of Corona got his own magnolia tree.

Hernandez has always appreciated these spring time blooms. Now he can grow them in his own backyard.

"I love them so much I decided to get one," he said.

New York Restoration Project's Program Coordinator Mike Horwitz says the organization offers both fruit and non-fruit trees to people.

The nonprofit also plants trees and cleans certain parks, but this program is to increase the leafy canopy in private spaces.

Trees are not only great for the air, the birds, for fighting erosion, flooding and climate change, but there are also intangible benefits of beauty.

"Students do better when there are trees around. People in hospitals recover better when there are trees around. So these are really vital services we provide," Horwitz said.

Laverne Nimmons from Queens says a few trees can make a big difference.

"I live near LaGuardia Airport and the air quality is horrible over there. So as many trees as we can get in that area supporting the quality of the air would be so important," she said.

One plant the nonprofit offers is a witch hazel tree. Not only does a witch hazel tree grow wide, but it will also stretch tall, making it not an indoor tree.

In the eight years of the free program, the New York Restoration Project has noticed the neighborhood turn more lush, and the summer time more shady.

"We just make the Earth a better place and a more beautiful place," Nimmons said.

Free trees go quickly, so be sure to register and get out a shovel for planting.

You can see a complete list of where, when and what kinds of trees are available on the New York Restoration Project's website.

ALSO READ: Earth Day 2024 raises awareness of health risks of plastics, with goal to phase out single-use items

Earth Day was first celebrated in the U.S. in 1970.


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