2014 Brings in Greenery with Giveaways Galore
Thanks to lead sponsors, TD Bank and Toyota, and supporting sponsor, JetBlue, NYRP is hosting over 90 tree giveaway events this season--the largest tree giveaway season yet. By partnering with over 75 local organizations, we are finding homes for 12,000 trees through May. As the country’s largest municipal tree giveaway program, MillionTreesNYC’s giveaways will help the initiative reach its goal of planting and caring for one million new trees by 2015.

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 This holiday season, look for goods that green. When you're decorating your home or buying presents for friends and family, shop for items that do a little something extra - like helping NYRP make New York City a cleaner, greener place to live.

We've compiled a quick catalog of holiday items: for your home and gifts for your friends and family. Happy Shopping!

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This past Sunday, NYRP with Rockaway Civic Association (RCA) gave away 100 evergreen trees to members of the Rockaways! It was a beautiful morning, and the community was excited to come out to the Belle Harbor Yacht Club to get their free trees. The damage around us was still very apparent, but there was much evidence of progress. So many people had stories about how the tree they were getting would be one of their final steps in rebuilding their lives, and hopeful adopters were showing up more than an hour before the giveaway to ensure their spot in line. Once we got all the trees out, we still had quite a few people waiting in line – so we were very glad to announce we’ll be giving away another 450 trees in the Rockaways this fall.

Big thanks to RCA for bringing out an enthusiastic group of young men from St. John’s Residence for Boys to help distribute the trees. Check out awesome photos from the giveaway on Facebook.

Check out our fall tree giveaways!



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Composting, New to New Yorkers, Can Be Easy
By Anne Tan


Grand ideas take a while for New Yorkers to warm up to, but from pop-up stores to bike sharing, we embrace change all the time. So since Mayor Bloomberg announced the expansion of residential composting as a city-wide initiative, the now-voluntary-but-eventually-mandatory chore of separating food scraps, has been daunting to New Yorkers. Nevertheless, the tasks involved will become a tolerable part of living in NYC. And luckily, the long-term benefits of reducing landfill and saving the city up to $100 million a year, will outweigh growing pains. The city’s hopes to eventually convert the waste into biogas for generating power, is making us day-dream about how NYC is finally becoming a city of the future. 

Preparing for when it becomes mandatory

Composting may become mandatory as early as 2016, but until then, there are ways to ease yourself into habit while the city’s program takes shape. NYRP is just one of many resources for composting education and disposal. 

NYRP hosts composting workshops and drop-off stations at various community gardens and at Sherman Creek Park in Northern Manhattan. Check out our calendar for the next tutorial taking place near you. Our largest compost site at Sherman Creek processes approximately 150 tons of food scraps annually. Thanks to the Sherman Creek Compost Crew, which meets every Saturday afternoon, the organic material is redistributed to nurture our 52 community gardens and more. Learn more about becoming a part of the crew or participating in a training session by emailing volunteer@nyrp.org.   

There are plenty of other workshops through city agencies and non-profit organizations that take place. Check for your closest community drop-off stations, where you can leave compost, including local green markets. 

Tips from your friends at NYRP

Odor. We want to reap—not reek—the benefits of composting! To reduce odor, store your compost in the freezer, in a durable, re-sealable plastic bag. This will keep the decomposing organic matter as fresh-smelling as possible, until it is ready to be disposed. 

From here to there. If you are transporting your compost from home to a drop-off station, you may be wary of lugging compost around. Consider investing in a cheap, transportable compost bucket, in which the odors won’t escape as you trek via subway! 

Learn with your children. If you have kids, practicing composting with them early on is a great learning opportunity to build sense of environmental stewardship. Currently, the Department of Sanitation has been piloting food waste collection in over 40 public schools. Kids are even maintaining worm bins for indoor composting! Think about the benefits of making composting a family activity, and the life-skill and science lessons to be had when composting together. 

Click here to learn more about composting in New York City.


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Marc Fuchs, Associate Professor in Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology Department at Cornell University differentiates the truth from the myths on mosaic viruses on cucurbits. 

1) Q: Is it true too much rain can splash the pathogens around? 

A: NOT CORRECT - Rainfalls do not carry viruses; they can carry other pathogens (water molds, bacteria, fungi) but not viruses. 

2) Q: If caught early enough, can only affected tissues be removed? 

A: NOT CORRECT - There is no cure for a virus in an infected plant; once a plant is infected, it will be so for its life time. 

3) Q: Is it true that there are, at the present time, no CMV resistant strains of melons or squashes? 

A: NOT CORRECT - Some CMV-resistant cultivars of yellow summer squash, zucchini squash, and melon are commercially available. 

4) Q: Is it true that, over the long term, it really is not feasible to grow cucurbits in the same box as Solanaceae? 

A: NOT CORRECT - This practice is not recommended but it is doable if proper precautions are taken to avoid diseases being carried over. 

5) Q: What do growers do when hit with mosaics in mid-season? It is possible to rip the plants out and try growing an "early" variety? 

A: The timing of infection with mosaic virus with regard to the flowering time is critical in the decision making process. The commercial growers will decide to keep an infected field if the virus infection took place after the flowers and fruits have set. If the virus infection took place before or at flowering and fruit setting, growers usually abandon their fields because they will likely not harvest a crop.  

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A few quick tips on having an eco-friendly holiday season…

  •  Buy a Christmas tree from Tyler’s Trees and use code NYRP33 – and they’ll donate $30 to help NYRP plant a tree in NYC. You can also add a gift to NYRP at checkout.

  • Give a gift that keeps on growing: buy a tree in someone’s honor and we’ll send the person a tree certificate signed by NYRP Founder Bette Midler and NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

  • Shop smart – checkout ClimateCounts.org for a list of brands that are pro-actively trying to minimize their carbon footprint and improve the environment. Also check out MadeinNYC.org and shop at local businesses that suffered losses during Hurricane Sandy.

  • Mulchfest 2013: Don’t just throw your tree in the trash - drop it off at Swindler Cove in Sherman Creek Park the week of January 7-11 (Monday-Friday) between 8am-4pm so that we recycle it for mulch. NYRP will be mulching for Mulchfest on Jan 12 and 13 between 12-2pm.

Did you know… real Christmas trees are actually more eco-friendly than artificial ones?
By Mike Mitchell, Community Initiatives Manager

We know it sounds kind of crazy but, well, using real Christmas trees are actually better than using fake ones for a number of reasons. When you add up the pollution created by: 1) the plastic used for artificial trees and 2) shipping them from China to the US, the amount of energy used to produce an artificial tree just isn’t worth it. Not to mention, they take up a lot of room in landfills at the end of their lives.

One of the reasons why real trees are better is because even once they’re cut down and taken into someone’s home, they’re still evapo-transpiring, meaning that they are exchanging carbon dioxide for oxygen that we (and our pets) breathe. The trees can also be recycled for mulch once the holiday season is over.

Mulch is a great layer of tree protection against the cold winters and the salt we use to melt ice or snow; during the hot summers it helps to retain moisture so the tree does not need to be watered as often. Additionally, as the mulch breaks down it is naturally returning important nutrients in the form of carbon (from the woody branches) and nitrogen (from the green leaves) into the soil to be used again by the trees or plants in your garden.

Trees that are brought to the Mulchfest sites around New York City are ground into mulch for our parks and gardens; they can also be picked up for free to be used in your yard or garden just by calling your borough forestry office.

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On November 17, 2012, The Anne Fontaine Foundation will hold their Second Annual Forest Day in all the Anne Fontaine stores worldwide. During this event, 50% of the sales will be donated to the Anne Fontaine Foundation to fund reforestation projects. In light of recent events, the foundation will donate 20% of the total amount raised during Forest Day to NYRP for hurricane relief. The funds will help us replant trees in New York City.

Please join on November 17, 2012!  Help us raise money and awareness to protect our forests. We can work toward preventing natural disasters by supporting the Foundation’s reforestation projects. Don’t miss Forest Day!

See all stores.
New York City stores:
- 93 Greene Street, New York, NY 10012 / 1 (212)-343-3154
- 677 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10065 / 1 (212)-421-0947
- 610 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10020 / 1 (212)-489-1554

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On Saturday, October 27, 2012 Community Engagement gathered NYRP community gardeners from across the city to celebrate another harvest season and discuss interests for next spring. The agenda included show & tell, garden potluck, NYRP overview and brainstorming session about the ideal community garden.

Imani Community Gardener Salome Perry shares her experience:

I met and networked with a large variety of people, with whom I exchanged ideas and advice on accomplishing their garden goals. I created a photo album from recent events, to encourage gardeners to hold similar events with other gardeners to attract community members to their including our annual lobster fundraiser, vegetables grown in Imani Garden and of our solar panel powered pond with fish and the plants. There was also information on organizations that provide free seeds, including Green Guerilla, Seeds of Change amongst others. NYRP's website has excellent tips on garden maintinence, information on plants, and planting. We're looking forward to a new season ahead. 

View more photos on Facebook

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By Claire Turner, Community Initiatives AmeriCorps

Last week, after hurricane sandy swept through NYC, Mike and I made the difficult decision to cancel our three remaining tree giveaways for the fall season. The total damage the storm caused is still being assessed, but we know for certain that thousands of trees were uprooted, split in half, or otherwise fatally damaged due to the storms heavy winds and flooding.  As our climate changes and we begin to face more intense storms more often, it is important that New Yorkers realize the benefits trees provide to our city, including storm water management. Now, more than ever, NYRP is committed to giving away trees to New Yorkers. This fall we gave away over 1,000 trees in all five boroughs of NYC and next spring we will be giving away several thousands more.

Over the past year I’ve worked at over 15 different giveaways and in the planning process I’ve met with nearly 40 community partners. Whether at a giveaway event or a partner meeting, I like to make the point that we could not reach the goal of planting a million trees in NYC without help of individuals and private partners. Over 26% of New York City is privately owned residential land, which is a huge amount of space that has been otherwise difficult to plant. At NYRP we know that when we plant trees in these spaces, the places in-between, we can make a meaningful ecological impact in our city.

Tree giveaways give us the opportunity to have meaningful conversations with individuals about ecological issues facing our city, benefits of trees, and proper planting and care techniques. These conversations have been some of the best moments of my AmeriCorps term.  It makes me smile every time I see people lining up for trees. As I hand off trees to parents and their children, new residents of NYC, homeowners, gardeners and grandmothers alike, I am handing out more than a tree.  Individuals leave our events with an understanding of the significance of trees in the urban landscape. The outpouring of support for these events is inspiring because it shows that New Yorkers get it—trees make our city green, in more ways than one. 

View photos of spring and fall 2012 tree giveaways on Facebook

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By John Douglas, NYRP's Brooklyn Community Initiatives Coordinator  

Earlier this year, I enrolled in the Master Composter course at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden branch of the New York City Compost Project, a program supported by Department of Sanitation.  I learned about the best practices for managing compost in a community garden setting, and how our gardens can help divert organic waste from landfills, and turn it into a valuable resource for gardening in the city. 

PlanNYC estimates that New York City currently spends more than $1 billion a year to manage solid waste, including $300 million to export 3.3 million tons of City-collected waste. This month NYRP will be organizing the composting systems in our gardens to increase the efficiency, utilize the capacity, and expand the outreach of our composting footprint.  All interested community members are welcome to attend!

Saturday, September 29th, was the first stop on my city-wide tour of NYRP composting where we were worked with the gardeners at Clinton Avenue Community Garden to become more active in composting organic waste in their Bronx community. Everyone pitched in to harvest four wheelbarrows worth of finished compost, and spread it on different garden beds.  The gardeners also taught me about the history of their garden, and the wonderful people who have been stewards of the space over the years. Special thanks to Charlie Reynoso, NYRP Community Initiatives Coordinator for the Bronx.  Charlie bridged a significant language gap, and lopped the most sunflower stalks one person could ever be asked to lop in one day. Check out our pictures on Facebook! More numbers to report in the future, but look forward to serendipitous moments and unexpected occurrences while composting in NYC.

View photos of Compost Workshops on Facebook

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