Reading program aims to plant new trees

The tornado that ripped through Queens last month did a great deal of damage to the Queens Botanical Garden. A private school in Long Island City decided to hold a fundraiser to help out.

The 12-week event is called “Books for Trees.” The Queens Paideia School (QPS) will raise money to purchase new trees to replace the tree stumps.

Beginning November 1 and running through January 21, students at Paideia will bury their heads in novels, fiction and nonfiction books as they improve their reading skills and raise cash for the cause.

Karyn Slutsky, founder of QPS and the administrator who coordinated the program explained that the students sign up their family, friends and neighbors to donate money for each book they finish over the time period.

“A few weeks after the storm, several QPS students and I were visiting the garden and found it buzzing with machinery [that were] cutting up fallen trees,” said Slutsky.

They learned the garden had been hit hard by the storm and struggling to regain its roots.

“We decided our school should do something to help,” she said, adding that QPS has a strong belief in environmental preservation. “We think it’s important that residents of Queens support the garden because it’s the only one we have.”

After the fundraiser concludes, participating students will write letters to their respected sponsors, listing the books they read, and which ones they enjoyed the most.

Funds will then be collected and sent to the Queens Botanical Garden. Tree planting will begin shortly after the funds are collected.

Other students and residents shouldn’t feel discouraged from participating in the read-a-thon if they start fundraising well into the start date. Every book counts.

Donations are due by February 11, 2011.

If you are interested in sponsoring a child, or if your child would like to participate, please send an e-mail to [email protected] and visit queenspaideiaschool.org to learn more.