Volunteers graduate tree-pruning class

The environmentally conscious are stepping up in order to help create a greener New York City.
On Wednesday, June 18, First Deputy Commissioner of Parks Liam Kavanagh, and Executive Director of Trees New York, Susan Gooberman led a graduation ceremony commending citizen volunteers who successfully completed Trees New York’s Citizen Pruner Course.
Approximately 250 volunteers, 30 of which are residents of Queens, took the annual spring course.
“It was a great experience,” said Patricia Willis. “I’ve been contributing to the Central Park Conservancy through private donations for a long time and thought I knew a lot about trees, but I learned much more than I anticipated I would and am now spreading the word to all my friends through email about this excellent course.”
The 12-hour course consisted of eight hours of learning in the classroom to cover the technical aspects of tree care, as well as four hours of outdoor workshops to get the volunteers acclimated to the greenery that they were being trained to care for.
“It was a very hands-on experience,” said Willis. “The fact that parts of the course were taught outside of the classroom really prepared me well.”
By completing the course, the volunteers became licensed by the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation and Trees New York to care for street trees.
“The Citizen Pruner graduates have attained the knowledge and skills they need to care for the street trees in their own communities throughout the five boroughs of New York City,” Gooberman said.
There are more than 5 million trees in the city with 168 different species and 600,000 street trees. Although those numbers already seem large, the city is in the midst of an effort to plant and care for 1 million new trees across New York City by 2017.
With MillionTreesNYC’s lofty ambition, many more citizen pruners will be needed in the near future.
“I loved every moment of the course,” Willis said. “I highly recommend it for everyone who has a desire to improve their neighborhood.” To learn more about the course, or to sign up, visit https://www.treesny.com/trees_course.html.

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