Clearing The Air: A Tree Grows In Brooklyn and Beyond

City plows ahead with Million Trees initiative

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Andrew Siff looks at the New York City organization dedicated to making the Concrete Jungle a little more green. Will they reach their 2017 goal? (Published Wednesday, Mar 9, 2011)

    Earth Day has come and gone. But New York City's green goals are still on the horizon.

    "We don't really have many trees in the Bronx," said Terez Lee, who was learned ecological skills this month as part of the city's One Million Trees project. The mission: plant one million eastern white firs and other varietals by 2017. " For our health, as far as asthma and many other things, we need these trees to survive."

    Program coordinator Brian Aucoin said there's a direct correlation between tree-less neighborhoods and high asthma rates. The city is using the forestry experts in a group called Green Apple Corps to teach volunteer planters what to do.

    "Gotta be wearing these glasses," said Mark Stonehill of Green Apple Corps, who sported clear goggles as he swung a pick-axe into the dirt at Rainey Park in the Morissania section of the Bronx.  A couple of hours later 12 new trees were in the ground.

    "Sixty-two percent of the trees we've put in so far are on parks property -- 20 percent are those trees between the sidewalk and the street," said Aucoin, who added the rest of the trees are going in private property. 

    The initiative is partly funded by singer/actress Bette Midler, who has been a major fundraiser for the Parks Department.