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A tree adoption event grows in Forest Hills park

Michael Perlman, of the Rego-Forest Preservation Council, hauls trees at last year's giveaway. The second annual tree giveaway will be held May 20 at MacDonald Park in Forest Hills. Photo courtesy Michael Perlman
TimesLedger Newspapers

Forest Hills will host a tree giveaway this week to help the city get a little greener.

Citywide residents will have the chance to adopt one or more of the 245 trees in MacDonald Park, on Queens Boulevard and 70th Avenue, at the Four Borough Preservation Alliance’s second annual tree giveaway on Sunday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

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.

Michael Perlman, a Forest Hills resident and Queens vice president of the alliance, documented much of the devastation after the storm and sent a proposal to the restoration project. A bond was developed and on June 12, 2011, the neighborhood hosted its first tree giveaway.

“With the volunteerism of its members and the Rego-Forest Preservation Council, the alliance helped restore the natural and historic beauty of Forest Hills as well as beyond,” said Perlman, adding that MacDonald Park lost 60 trees during the storm. “Following last year’s success, I decided to coordinate another tree giveaway this spring.”

NYRP began coordinating tree giveaways citywide in 2008 and has since organized more than 50 events. This spring, NYRP, in partnership with community groups, is donating 5,000 trees at 30 giveaways.

An array of native species will be available at the giveaway, including Eastern Redbud, Northern Red Oak, Florida Dogwood and Bald Cypress. He also said potted trees will be 6 to 10 feet tall and will come with planting and maintenance instructions. The trees will be named after former Forest Hills notables, historic street names and landmarks.

Perlman said when trees are lost due to either natural phenomena or acts of man, the consequences can be dire for both the environment and the aesthetic beauty of the borough.

“Many people did not realize the benefits of our trees until some of them, which were a century old, succumbed in seconds,” he said. “Trees convey life, beauty, contribute to environmental sustainability and enhance property values.”

An NYRP representative said the organization’s goal is to foster an interest in preservation in the younger generations — something that will serve to benefit both trees and residents.

“[The city] needs to preserve its existing tree canopy and plant more trees, but some property owners degrade the neighborhood aesthetics and environmental benefits by cutting down trees in the name of development-related progress,” said Perlman.

Those who wish to adopt a tree May 20 should line up in MacDonald Park before 1 p.m. Applicants can reserve a tree online at nyrp.org/queenstrees.

Reach reporter Steve Mosco by e-mail at smosco@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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