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APEC to share some green

Alaine Euler planted her first free tree from last year's Alley Pond Environmental Center tree giveaway in her Bayside backyard and said she will be back for seconds. Photo by Phil Corso
TimesLedger Newspapers

Douglaston’s going to get a little greener come April 1.

Alaine Euler was there when the Alley Pond Environmental Center, at 228-06 Northern Blvd., doled out 200 trees for free for the first time in 2011. One year later, the Bayside resident said she would be going back for seconds.

“I think the city needs a lot of trees planted,” Euler said, adding that trees can help the environment by cleaning the air of pollutants. “Where I live has a lot of cars and truck and the trees help remediate some of that.”

Euler will be one of 150 local residents April 1 to receive a free tree at APEC as part of a collaboration with MillionTreesNYC and the New York Restoration Project. APEC Executive Director Irene V. Scheid said the giveaway was so successful last year that it had to be repeated.

What initially started as an initiative to benefit residents affected by last year’s tornado sprouted into a full-blown beautification project. The demand, Scheid said, has been consistently high.

“We already have had several phone calls requesting to reserve trees,” Scheid said. “The interest is very much still there.”

The high demand even drove Scheid to lower the number of trees from last year’s 200 to 150 to make more time for volunteers to help residents bring the trees to their cars.

“There will be a wait,” Scheid said. “We’ll have to process people through this.”

Residents taking home trees will receive a lesson on how to install the trees on their own. The trees, she said, are big and require more than the typical four-door vehicle for transport.

All 150 trees doled out next month will go toward the ultimate goal of planting 1 million trees throughout the city, Scheid said.

According to Scheid, recipients must be New York City residents and must plant the trees on their own property. Those interested can register online through the APEC website or call 718-229-4000. Walk-ins will also be taken on a first-come, first-serve basis.

“The trees are magnificent,” Scheid said. “People will be very pleased, just like last year.”

Euler took home a Kausa Dogwood tree last year and has since maintained its growth in her Bayside backyard. She said she was not alone in her excitement about adding another piece of greenery to her property.

“I think people realize that trees are beneficial for wildlife,” Euler said, adding that development in the area has made less room for plant life. “I know they grow big and lose their leaves, but I don’t mind raking up a few leaves or having a few branches fall into my yard now and then.”

Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at pcorso@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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