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PR- 426-08
October 29, 2008


PlaNYC Initiative Ahead of Schedule to Plant an Unprecedented One Million Trees In NYC by 2017

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and New York Restoration Project (NYRP) Founder Bette Midler today celebrated the one-year anniversary of MillionTreesNYC, and announced that as a result of overwhelming civic and community involvement and support, the City has exceeded its year one target planting goal by nearly 20 percent.  The Mayor and Ms. Midler planted Tree Number 111,111, a Japanese Zelkova (Zelkova Serrata), along 117th Street in East Harlem – one of the six designated “Trees for Public Health” neighborhoods citywide. Planting efforts have been focused in these neighborhoods to increase tree canopy cover to combat high rates of adolescent asthma.  MillionTreesNYC’s first year planting goal was originally set at 93,397 trees –the initiative exceeded that goal by 17,714 trees.

Fourth-grade students from neighboring P.S. 155 began the day’s celebration with a MillionTreesNYC anniversary cheer.  Mayor Bloomberg and Ms. Midler then recognized several New Yorkers who have gone the extra mile in making the initiative a success before leading guests in singing “Happy Anniversary.” Mayor Bloomberg and Ms. Midler were joined at the anniversary celebration by Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito, First Deputy Mayor Patricia E. Harris, Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe, and Rohit T. Aggarwala, Director of the Mayor’s Office for Long-term Planning and Sustainability.

“New Yorkers across the City are making history by digging in and getting involved in MillionTreesNYC,” said Mayor Bloomberg.  “During the first year of this historic campaign, we have rallied communities and well exceeded our target planting goal– demonstrating that once again New Yorkers are going ‘above and beyond’ in their effort to green our city and make New York more sustainable.”

“MillionTreesNYC has truly become a citywide movement,” said Bette Midler, Founder of NYRP.  “And with this exciting initiative, we are not only planting trees in areas of our city that desperately need them, but we are promoting community empowerment and engagement.  We said one year ago that we would need every New Yorker’s involvement and support, and we are well on our way to achieving that goal, as well as our goal of planting one million new trees.  New Yorkers are the best!  You really are one in a million!”

Through a mix of public and private plantings, MillionTreesNYC – a 10-year initiative to plant and care for one million new trees throughout the City’s five boroughs and a key aspect of Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC – will ultimately expand the City’s urban forest by 20%, provide New Yorkers important health, economic and environmental benefits, and create a more sustainable urban environment. In the first year of the initiative, public, private and non-profit organizations rallied thousands of citizen volunteers to plant trees in what has become an unprecedented tree planting campaign and citywide environmental movement. 

The Mayor allocated nearly $400 million to the Parks Department over a period of ten years to plant 600,000 trees by reforesting 2,000 acres of existing parkland and lining New York City streets with trees. NYRP is planting nearly 100,000 trees on public housing developments, schoolyards and playgrounds, community gardens, cultural institutions and other publicly-accessible properties. Along with NYRP, an advisory committee of over 80 public and non-profit partners was established to enlist community organizations, businesses, residential and commercial developers and everyday New Yorkers to plant and maintain the remaining 300,000 trees.

To reach this ambitious goal, NYRP and the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City are raising corporate, foundation and individual contributions to support plantings.  Lead sponsors of MillionTreesNYC include The Home Depot Foundation and Toyota; major donors include David Rockefeller and Bloomberg Philanthropies; and supporters include The Police, the Altman Foundation, BNP Paribas, American Express, CIT, Wachovia, Producer Ryan Kavanaugh and Chairman of Barnes & Noble Len Riggio.

“From Tree Number One to Tree Number 111,111, we have engaged New Yorkers of all ages throughout the five boroughs and created an unprecedented and exciting civic movement to green New York City,” said Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe.  “I encourage all New Yorkers to be ‘one in a million’ and get involved in MillionTreesNYC this fall, the perfect time to plant trees.”

MillionTreesNYC celebrated its first anniversary by launching the following community-based programs and events this fall:

  • MillionTreesNYC Training Program – a jobs program offering unemployed young adults who are not enrolled in school or on a career path, professional training with a focus on forestry and horticulture.  Through this paid on-the-job training program, participants will cultivate job skills preparing them for the many available green jobs that involve tree planting, pruning, and stewardship.  This pilot program is one of the over 40 innovative programs of the Mayor’s Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO) to reduce the number of New Yorkers living in poverty, and is generously supported by the Altman Foundation.

  • MillionTreesNYC Fall Planting Day – on Saturday, November 8, over 1,000 community members and families have signed up to plant 15,000 trees in New York City parks and natural areas with 10 planting sites located throughout the five boroughs.  Volunteers are a key part of reaching MillionTreesNYC’s reforestation goals. Registration is still open and interested participants can sign-up online at   

  • MillionTreesNYC Community Grant Program – presented through the generous support of The Home Depot Foundation, five $20,000 grants will be made to non-profit organizations to support citywide tree planting, stewardship and/or education and outreach activities.  An additional $100,000 will be distributed to neighborhood-based groups in the form of $5,000 grants to support tree planting across New York City’s five boroughs.  For the next three years, the MillionTreesNYC Community Grant Program will fund non-profit organizations with new or existing programming that support MillionTreesNYC goals. 

  • Tree Giveaways – during the month of October, 1,250 trees were adopted by New York City homeowners, families and community groups at five sites – one in each borough. The effort was underwritten by American Express.

Information on MillionTreesNYC and the above programs, resources and volunteer opportunities are available online at and or by calling 311.


Stu Loeser/Jason Post   (212) 788-2958

Jama Adams/Jesslyn Tiao   (Parks)
(212) 360-1111

Emily Lawi (NYRP)   (212) 253-0474

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