Tree Care Marches On

6 Children watering tree.jpg
6 Three year old water a tree.jpg

Tree Care Marches On

We have not heard anything from Laurie Cumbo's office about the fate of NAIA's winning proposal to plant trees on Nostrand Avenue and side streets. Was the proposal funded in the City Council? Was the funding sent to the Parks Department? Did the Parks Department forward the funding to Brooklyn Forestry? Has Brooklyn Forestry decide what to do with it? Silence on all fronts – unanswered messages and e-mails. That is very disheartening. The effort to involve the community, now that the vote has taken place, has come to a grinding halt, and there is an eerie silence. This is in sharp contrast to the celebration and publicity that took place when the vote totals were announced.

However, NAIA's efforts to plant trees and care for those that are young and vulnerable goes on. If need be, we will implement our proposal with our own resources. As of August 17, 2019 we have 24 trees in our care and eight of them are newly planted in the last few months. So about a third of our proposal to plant twenty trees has been implemented with no help what-so-ever from the Participatory Budgeting process.

As we reported in the June issue, Tree Care is carried out by paid interns during the week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and by volunteers on Sunday. To date all 24 trees are thriving, new ones as well as those one or two years old. I thank Christopher, Ronald, Raymond and Alika for their efficient and expert work in tending these trees. As they do this work, more and more people have offered help or taken over the work themselves. Yossi, the owner of Lula Bagel, has his workers clean out the two tree pits next to his store. Victor, the butcher at Met Food, sees to it the tree in front of the supermarket is cared for. He also puts out bread for the birds and feeds 18 neutered cats in the area behind Met Food. Whenever we need water, we can use the sink in his room. Kelly at Wayward Hairdressers provides water as well, as does the manager of Ali Nails. Residents Israel and Asie on Lincoln Place allow us to use the hose in their front yard as does Beverley further down the block. Numerous superintendents have helped. The one in the co-op at the corner of Sterling and New York refills our buckets and has put out fresh mulch on all the trees adjacent to the building.

On Sundays it is it a shifting group that shows up. Once there was just a single volunteer, Oshun. On Service Sunday on July 28, Mosaic Baptist Church provided twelve adult volunteers as well as some children. Children totally understand tree care; two five-year-old girls did a magnificent job of watering trees as did a three-year-old girl another time. Children made many signs warning off dog owners and smokers. Alas four of these sign were taken away as well as another made by an adult that read, “Respect the Growth.” Andre has built three wooden tree guards and placed them on New York Avenue.

We need: more signs, more tree guards, and more trees. There are two empty tree pits on Nostrand Avenue between Lincoln Place and Sterling Place and one more, on New York Avenue right in the area we are now covering. When we move south on Nostrand Avenue towards Empire Boulevard, there will be a need for many more of all these items. Maybe we will hear from the city by then.

– John DeWind

UpdatesRobbie Klein