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Neighbor to Neighbor: Parks groups prepare for tree counting event

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As always the group's president, Frederick J. Kress, did a yeoman's job supplying more than what one would usually term refreshments. Also he, in cooperation with the Department of Parks and Recreation, Citizens for NYC and Partnership for Parks, supplied each person present with information on basic elements of grant writing (remember to be neat, complete and on time); applying for grants; grants for neighborhood volunteer efforts; helpful hints for completing Citizens for NYC application grants; an outline from Citizens for NYC called "What We Do" along with a list of their publications including "Common Reasons for Receiving or Not Receiving A Grant."Last in this group of reference material was a compendium of resources identifying major sources of support and information for parks groups entitled "Resources for Parks Groups." As an educational aid, we were given samples of supportive material that accompanied a previous winning grant application and a previous year's sample grant application.It is a lot of paper, a lot of good reading material and hopefully all that will provide successful grant applications and the funding to educate our communities about working together to clean up and beautify our parks and communities. Maybe when our little section of the world is improved, others will be anxious to emulate what we have been able to do.Even if you don't feel up to grant writing, you need not feel left out. "It's My Park! Day" is coming up fast - May l4 to be exact. There are volunteer projects in parks throughout all five boroughs of New York City. Call 311 or visit www.itsmypark.org to volunteer in a park near you.Parks as well as other parts of our communities suffer from a plague of graffiti vandalism. Remember, graffiti is not art - it is a crime. A reward up to $500 is offered for the arrest and conviction of anyone who commits graffiti vandalism. Call 911 for crimes (including graffiti) in progress; call 311 to provide information.Did you know that in 1995, New York City's streets were lined with 498,470 trees? That survey was specific as to species, size, condition and distribution across the landscape. Now, after 10 years have passed, another tree count must be taken. "The new census will identify urban forest trends and changes; be used to calculate a dollar value of the trees' environmental and economic benefits; inspire a new generation of citizens to protect and care for the city's trees."Again, volunteers are needed for this interesting project, which will be rewarded not only by seeing a job well done, but by parties, events and other celebrations. Beginning in May and continuing through the summer, individual or group volunteers willing to commit to counting approximately 300 trees and an estimated 40-hour commitment (two to three hours a week) over four months, will be asked to attend one of the training sessions that will take place on evenings and weekends. All tools will be provided.Volunteers are also needed for other non-field activities. To count trees in your neighborhood, visit www.nyc.gov/treescount or call 311. If you are planning an event in the park, remember to request a permit from Parks and Recreation. Download an application from www.nyc.gov/parks, or call 311 or the permit office in Queens at 718-520-5942.More events coming up: this May, registered Green Thumb gardeners can pick up free vegetable starters and learn early season strategies for planting them. For details about Green Thumb events call 212-788-8070 or visit www.greenthumbnyc.org.Starting July 4 city Parks Foundation offers children aged 5 to 14 free weekly introductory and intermediate lessons in golf, tennis and track and field. To register or to obtain more information, call 718-699-4200 or visit www.cityparksfoundation.org. Have safe fun in the parks and help keep them clean and healthy please.Then if you want a change of pace and enjoy a rousing basketball game, a great game is scheduled to take place Friday, May 27, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Elmcor, 107-20 Northern Blvd. in Corona, between the NYPD Queens Borough Command South and North. Tickets are only $5. Cheer on!

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