Making JH environmentally sustainable and resilient.
We are working to make Jackson Heights the greenest neighborhood in New York City, and an example for others to follow. When we say green, we don’t just mean beautiful; we mean environmentally sustainable, as in battling climate change. Mature trees make neighborhoods cooler, reducing the need for air conditioning, which means using less electricity and the producing less carbon dioxide.
Not only is the Tree LC team one of JHBG’s biggest volunteer efforts, we are the most active volunteer tree-care program in the city. In fact, we are the only volunteer program among top four most active tree-care organizations operating in New York City.
We welcome all volunteers and do NOT require an on-going commitment. Join us once, twice, once-a month, as often as you want and have time for.
And we have FUN. Living in the nation’s biggest city, we don’t always have a chance to get our hands in dirt and watch what we plant grow and thrive. What’s more, it’s a chance to meet other friendly folks who love growing green things and want to take hands-on to improve our environment.
We focus on our community’s most neglected trees, those along the 37th Avenue commercial district, from 74th Street to 87th Street. Recently planted trees are the vulnerable toddlers of the urban forest so those get the most attention.
We began installing city-approved tree guards around tree beds that measure roughly 10 feet by 4 feet, larger opening that helps trees thrive than openings the city once used for planting trees. The tree guards do several things including discouraging dog visits to trees, but most important they keep heavy-footed humans away. That prevents soil from getting compacted, blocks water and oxygen from reaching trees. It is one of the most serious problems facing city street trees.
Next we started planting perennials, mostly those that flower and when possible native perennials in these tree beds.
All told JHBG has installed roughly 35 tree guards and New York City Parks and landlords another 20 along 37th Avenue, areas that we’ve turned into curbside tree gardens. In addition, we weed and remove litter from nearly 100 other trees along the avenue.
In late 2017 we began another project along the avenue, renovating the Jackson Heights Post Office Garden. Over the next year we planted shrubs, flowering perennials and bulbs in this 900-square-foot garden.
Our plantings were so successful in attracting pollinators we decided to name the garden the Jackson Heights Butterfly Garden.
We hope to expand these butterfly gardens to schools and other public places across the neighborhood the same way we have been increasing the number of curbside tree gardens.