Annual Report | March 28, 2024

Annual Report 2023: Free Tree Giveaways

NYRP tree recipients at the Wyckoff House Museum also received a free bag of compost.

The following blog post is an excerpt from our 2023 annual report.

New York Restoration Project’s free tree giveaway program has a dedicated following. Since its start in 2008 as part of the MillionTreesNYC initiative, NYRP has distributed over 70,000 trees across the city. Fifteen years later, registration still fills up quickly, and people travel across boroughs to get the tree they want. “Turnout compared to last year substantially increased,” says NYRP’s Public Programming Coordinator Mike Horwitz.

With the generous support of Bloomberg Philanthropies, NYRP hosted 20 individual giveaway events to distribute 3,500 trees across the five boroughs from mid-April through May. We continued to rely on strong relationships with grassroots organizations to help give out the saplings including community gardens, museums, nature conservancies, libraries, and—thanks to a strong partnership with Citizens—local bank branches.

One of the program’s main goals every year is to reach neighborhoods with the least amount of tree canopy. In addition to being more likely to suffer higher temperatures, these areas are more vulnerable to extreme weather events since they lack trees to help mitigate storm water and flooding. For these reasons, we were especially proud this past year to have distributed almost 100 trees—more than in any other neighborhood—throughout the Rockaways, one of the few areas of the city to lose canopy cover over the last decade.


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Another mission of the program is to help increase the city’s biodiversity by distributing almost 30 different native tree species best suited for our changing climate. Trees like the American Persimmon, Sweetbay Magnolia, and White Fringe Tree, for example, are not only great for pollinators and birdlife, but also well-equipped to thrive as our city becomes hotter and wetter. “There’s really nothing trees don’t make better,” says Mike.

We are grateful to the following elected City and State officials who joined us in the field: City Council Speaker Adrienne E. Adams; Council Members Shekar Krishnan, Lincoln Restler, Rafael Salamanca Jr., and Selvena Brooks-Powers; State Senators Kevin S. Parker and Jamaal T. Bailey; State Assembly Member Nily Rozic; and Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine.

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