Volunteers received a hands-on experience, learning tree care techniques and applying the skills to several tree beds full of weeds and litter.
“Educating the community and bringing people out is a big benefit for the area,” said Kathleen Martin, the stewardship outreach coordinator for the New York Tree Trust.
The program, known as “Greening Greenpoint,” has planted around 420 trees over the past two years, and has a set goal of 500 by the end of the project. The New York Tree Trust sponsored the event through funding provided from the Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund (GCEF).
GCEF funds were obtained in a 2010 settlement with ExxonMobil over the massive Greenpoint oil spill left over from Newtown Creek's industrial past.
Volunteers received a tree care toolkit containing a cultivator and gloves to clean and rake tree beds. In addition, they added mulch to provide nutrients to the tree, which acts as a cooling blanket for hot summer days and suppresses the growth of weeds.
“One of my favorite things about Greenpoint is all the pretty tree-lined streets, said Kavya Kavishankar. “I thought it was important to take care of them.”
Kavishankar said she felt the event helped people learn to appreciate and take responsibility for the space around them.
“There’s a sense of community among those here,” said Olivia Skowronski, an intern at the New York Tree Trust and a Greenpoint resident.
Skowronski, who attended the event with her parents, said she was working on increasing the involvement of the Polish community and planning to reach out to PS 110, as well as older residents at St. Stanislaus Kostka Church.
“It’d be great if we could get even more people involved,” she said.
Martin said community members noticed the difference that environmental projects have been making in the community.
“We’ve come across some really positive people that are engaged and excited about new trees and learning about them, and learning what they can do on their own to care for their community,” she said.