In 2009, North Star Fund launched the “Greening Western Queens Fund,” an initiative to invest in environmental projects in the Western Queens community affected by the July 2006 blackout. Trees New York is pleased to share our efforts and accomplishments dedicated to ensuring that trees in the blackout zone will reach maturity and provide long-term environmental benefits to Western Queens.
For the third year, Trees New York is collaborating with Sunnyside Community Services to mentor and train youth through an in-depth summer environmental education program. This year, 30 students are participating in the paid summer internship, gaining valuable work experience, work readiness training, and comprehensive knowledge of urban forestry.
In both 2011 and 2012, I was invited to speak to the students and share experiences with my company and in green roof technologies. On both occasions, I was extremely impressed by the students’ understanding of urban environmental issues, their active commitment to caring for Western Queens’ urban forest, and the program organized by Trees New York. As a business owner, I saw such potential in these students that I expressed interest in providing internship opportunities for a few of the graduates. – Eric Dalski, Founder, Highview Creations
This year, TreesNY is also working to engage the youngest community members and from The Daisy Girl Scout Troop 137 to students from Aviation High School, they have excelled in their neighborhood greening efforts.
You have taught the students how to devote themselves to their environment and become dedicated tree stewards. Through Trees New York we have repaired over a hundred trees in the Western Queens area and we couldn’t have done it without you. They say all things have small beginnings. Your program has inspired us at Aviation High School to start a Gardening Society which will continuously dedicate its time to making our school a greener place to learn.
– Stephanie Balakatounis, Earth & Environmental Science Teacher, Aviation High School
TreesNY is on track to train 300 new volunteer tree stewards! Whether its watering, cultivating soil, planting flowers and mulching or just removing litter, staying off the soil and curbing their dogs – participants gain the knowledge and skills they need to protect their trees. To maximize the number of licensed Citizen Pruners in the neighborhood, Trees New York offered scholarships to people who live and work in the blackout zone. This spring, 21 scholars graduated and are now licensed to prune!