Alliance looks to green Forest Hills with trees

Residents pick out saplings at a Forest Hills tree giveaway last May. Photo courtesy Michael Perlman
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Forest Hills will host its first autumn tree giveaway this week to help the city get a little greener in time for spring.

Citywide residents will have the chance to adopt one of the 100 trees at MacDonald Park, at Queens Boulevard and 70th Avenue, during the Four Borough Preservation Alliance’s tree giveaway Sunday, Oct. 14, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

After adopting a tree, residents can take it home to plant on private property.

“This endeavor is consistent with the boroughwide movement toward ecological sensitivity,” said James A. Trent, president of the Four Borough Neighborhood Preservation Alliance. “Our mission is to preserve and improve the quality of life for low-density neighborhoods. Some trees may end up in highly dense neighborhoods, but that is not a problem, since none of us live in a vacuum. Trees improve air quality and beautify the city for all.”

Partnering with MillionTreesNYC and the New York Restoration Project, the Alliance’s tree giveaway sprouted into existence after thousands of city trees were uprooted by a massive storm in September 2010.

According to the city Office of Emergency Management, Queens alone lost 3,113 trees as a result of that rare macroburst, a devastating downburst of air.

“Many community residents did not realize the benefits of trees, until some of which were a century old succumbed in seconds during natural disasters,” said Michael Perlman, a Forest Hills resident and president of the Rego-Forest Preservation Council. “Trees convey life, beauty, contribute to environmental sustainability and enhance property values.”

Perlman said MacDonald Park was chosen to host the tree giveaway because the neighborhood was greatly impacted by the storm in September 2010.

“MacDonald Park was once again selected as the event site, in order to shed light upon a concentrated space which lost 60 mature trees during the tornado, and to initiate memories of productive community events,” he said. “Forest Hills was one of the greatly damaged neighborhoods, and the Four Borough Neighborhood Preservation Alliances seeks to restore its ‘forest’ factor as a case in point.”

Organizers said many common trees will be available at the giveaway, including Gingko, Honey Locust, Callery Pear, Oak and Sycamore. In addition, four less common species will also be available in an effort to diversify the tree population. These include American Beech, Serviceberry, Common Witch Hazel and Black Walnut.

Mike Mitchell, the New York Restoration Project community initiative coordinator, said events like this help develop societal bonds and a sense of environmental action within the community.

“Forging long-lasting, inter-city relationships are the best way to develop a sense of community for the city,” said Mitchell. “This fall, New Yorkers not only get to take home a tree, but they get to see the urban nature in its most festive state.”

Those who wish to adopt a potted tree should line up before 1 p.m. at MacDonald Park. Tree adopters can also reserve one online at

Reach reporter Steve Mosco by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4546.

Posted 10:48 pm, October 10, 2012
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