Queens Botanical Garden celebrated a $20,000 TD Green Space Grant from TD Bank Group and the Arbor Day Foundation to support an innovative urban greening and tree planting project on Saturday, Nov. 16.
In partnership with students from the John Bowne High School Agriculture Program, QBG is using the grant to help fight the urban heat island effect by planting trees and installing green infrastructure in the Cherry Circle of the garden.
TD Green Space Grants are made possible as part of the TD Ready Commitment, TD’s global corporate charity platform aimed at combating climate change.
“Green spaces play a critical role in creating more vibrant and livable cities. Not only do they provide environmental benefits, but they also provide social and economic benefits to cities and the people within them,” said Andrea Barrack, global head of sustainability and corporate citizenship, TD.
TD provides funding for the grants, which are awarded annually for tree planting, maintenance costs and educational activities. To be eligible for a grant, qualified municipalities must be within TD’s footprint in the United States and Canada. Queens Botanical Garden is a member of the Alliance for Community Trees and was one of 20 U.S. and Canadian recipients of the grant.
The program is administered by the Arbor Day Foundation, the largest nonprofit membership organization dedicated to planting trees.
“Our goal with this grant program is to help communities not only enrich their green spaces but also enrich lives,” said Dan Lambe, president, Arbor Day Foundation. “We are supporting Queens Botanical Garden in its effort to build awareness about the benefits of trees, educate residents on proper tree care, and lay the groundwork for a greener future.”
Morgan Potter, QBG supervisor of gardeners, was joined by QBG interns Kylie Lopez and Kevin Ochoa from John Bowne High School, as well as Simone Barsz and Vijayalakshmi Senthur Kumaran from Benjamin Cardozo High School. The group led a mulching demonstration on the newly planted trees and shared remarks on the impact of support from the grant on the local environment.
As part of the Beating the Heat: Using Green Infrastructure to Cool Down Urban Heat Islands project, made possible by a partnership with TD Bank, the QBG interns have gained hands-on experience caring for trees and learning about the positive impact trees and green infrastructure have on people and the environment.
Ochoa said the internship program has taught him how to communicate and how to step outside of his comfort zone one a day-to-day basis.
“The appearance of these trees have an effect on the landscape and appearance of the park,” Ochoa said. “Improving the overall health of several trees can bring a livelier environment to not only the creatures in the park, but to the visitors as well.”
Lopez said she has learned so much about trees during the internship.
“I learned about the effects of rock dust and how to make compost tea for the trees! I also learned how to make tree pits of mulch to help benefit the trees,” Lopez said.
Each week, Barsz has been able to see the enormous aesthetic value of trees with visitors of the garden, along with their remarkable capabilities in shading and cooling.
“With guidance from my team leader, I now see trees as constantly changing, living beings that are interdependent with wildlife, natural resources and humans,” Barsz said.
For Kumaran, sometimes the smallest changes can make the biggest impacts, and that rule applies to trees as well, she said.
“I gained a lot of experience in maintaining and creating a sustainable environment without using fertilizers and pesticides, which is very important knowledge due to climate change and the negative effects that can be seen in nature,” Kumaran said.
The newly trees planted are: Golden Raindrops Crabapple; Japanese Snowbell; Japanese Tree Lilac; Green Hawthorn; Pink Mountain Silverbell; Pagoda Dogwood; and Elizabeth Magnolia.