Making Greenpoint greener: Local group hosts afternoon of park beautifying, tree education

Originally Written by Matt John
for Brooklyn Paper.

They branched out!

Tree-huggers taught horticultural skills to environmentally minded locals during an event at a Greenpoint park on July 16 that showcased how critical trees are to urban communities, according to organizers.

“Trees are important, but it is hard for them to grow in an urban environment, and we wanted to show people what they can do to make it easier for trees to thrive in their neighborho­ods,” said Kathleen Martin of the New York Tree Trust, a city arboreal organization.

Can you dig it?: Antoinette Fiarato, left, and Christine Zill, right, freshen up a Greenpoint tree bed during the “Greening Greenpoint” event on July 16.

The group of green thumbs spent an afternoon beautifying American Playground on Milton and Franklin streets by laying mulch around tree pits, picking up litter, and planting flowers — but, oddly, no trees — and volunteers said spending time to improve the park was a rewarding experience.

“It was great, I loved doing it!” said Greenpoint resident Christina Zill. “Now when I walk around my neighborhood and see trees that desperately need attention, I know I have to help out.”

The “Greening Greenpoint” event’s main purpose was to promote awareness about the need to protect the city’s flora, according to organizers, who said they hoped their tips would inspire attendees to continue with their urban gardening in the future.

“We look forward to the volunteers continuing to do it themselves long after this project ends,” Martin said. “That is the goal.”

The opportunity to learn the why city trees are so important reminded volunteers that they are far more than just a part of the streetscape, according to Zill.

“Trees are not just a part of the cement sidewalk,” she said. “They are living things that need to be taken care of.”

By Romey Louangvilay