Nonprofit to give away free trees to Brooklynites

NYRP plans to hand out 3,500 trees to people located across the five boroughs in this year's giveaway.
NYRP plans to hand out 3,500 trees to people located across the five boroughs in this year’s giveaway.
Photo courtesy of NYPR

A local nonprofit is helping to green-up Brooklyn by distributing hundreds of trees throughout the borough. 

New York Restoration Project (NYRP) is giving away free trees in six different neighborhoods in Brooklyn (as well as other areas in the city), which they say will help play an essential role in New York City’s environmental resilience by providing shade, creating wildlife habitat, reducing temperatures, improving air quality, and mitigating stormwater run-off.

“This beloved program continues to spread the undeniable benefits of our urban tree canopy to the neighborhoods that need them most,” said New York Restoration Project Executive Director Lynn Bodnar Kelly. “We must get more trees in the ground in New York City if we are to truly confront the climate crisis.”

The giveaway will be on select days: 

  • Red Hook on April 15
  • Canarsie on April 15
  • Williamsburg on April 29
  • Bedford-Stuyvasant on May 6
  • Brownsville on May 13
  • Brooklyn Heights on May 20

NYRP plans to hand out 3,500 trees, which will be distributed as saplings, in total through their efforts.

New York family receives free trees to plant in their neighborhood.
Photo courtesy of NYRP.

In 2022, the nonprofit built 20 new green spaces, removed 60 tons of trash, and composted 50 tons of organic material. They also planted and distributed 3,000 trees by hosting 19 free tree giveaways, and hosted more than 100 public programs and events for 4,235 people.

The trees Brooklynites will receive are native species to the area, including fruit trees like Highbush Blueberry, Elderberry, American Persimmon, American Plum, Black Cherry. 

There will also be floral trees such as Eastern Redbud, Flowering Dogwood, Sweetbay Magnolia, Sycamore, Willow Oak, Winged Sumac, and Witch Hazel. 

All of these can already be found in the city’s landscape.

The organization’s team is formed by experts in construction, horticulture, design, environmental education, administration and fundraising. 

Some of their staff are experts in food production through urban agriculture. They assist over 700 community gardeners and cultivate over 18,000 sq. ft. of raised beds across the city. 

“Trees cool our streets, scrub our air, and soak up storm waters,” said Shekar Krishnan, Chair of the New York City Council’s Committee on Parks and Recreation. “They also support New Yorkers’
mental health in immeasurable ways.” 

Interested Brooklynites can register to receive a free tree. Participants can choose which tree they will get in advance.