by Jake Rogers
With spring upon us, the flowers are blooming and the trees are coming back to life in an explosion of lush greenery that makes us all feel a little warmer after a long, cold winter. This interactive map of New York City trees is a project started by the NYC Parks Department in 2015. Originally mapped by volunteers, the map is now updated daily by the Park Forestry Team. The NYC Street Tree Map is the “the world’s most accurate and detailed map of a city’s street trees.” Every tree that has been planted in the five boroughs is counted, tagged, and logged into the GIS system, with a total of 692,892 trees on the map to date. Each tagged tree is also interactive so that any New Yorker taking a stroll can scan the tag with their smartphone or find in on the map and check out all of the details about that particular tree from species and date of planting, to recent tree care conducted ie. watering, litter removal, etc. New Yorkers can also report any ailments that the tree may be experiencing from rotting roots, to excess garbage around the tree and send the information directly to the Forestry Team for assistance.
The Parks Department hosts a variety of events from tree identification and mapping tours, to care projects, and even an “adopt a tree program” that is sponsored by the MillionTreesNYC initiative. MillionTreesNYC teaches free workshops on tree care where you learn how to mulch, water, and care for a tree, and afterwards you receive a free tree-watering kit and a volunteer card that contains the information of your adopted tree. This project is not just aesthetically pleasing for the city, but also serves many environmental purposes that benefit the residents of NYC. On their webpage, the Parks Department reports all of the environmental and financial benefits of having an urban forest blossom right outside our doorsteps. The program boasts ecological benefits such as carbon sequestration and stormwater surge catchment, with the total financial benefits reaching almost $105,000,000 per year and growing with every additional tree planted. So next time you are staring out of your window at the leafy green foliage, or taking a walk through the park, take a minute to get to know your bark-bearing neighbors and befriend a local tree!