Canarsie’s Wyckoff House hosts tree giveaway for Earth Day

Earthly fun: Melissa Ferdinand and her niece Unique received a free tree when the New York Restoration Project gave away the arbors at the Wyckoff House Museum in East Flatbush on Earth Day on April 21.
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This Earth Day celebration was a real tree-t!

Brooklynites descended upon an old Dutch house in Canarsie on Saturday to help make the borough a greener place. One local attended the tree giveaway at the Wyckoff House Museum with her niece so the girl can watch new a tree sprout up as she does.

“We wanted the experience of seeing a tree grow in Brooklyn, there aren’t that many here,” said Melissa Ferdinand, who will plant the tree with her niece Unique. “She’ll be able to see it grow throughout her lifetime.”

Around 200 people attended the tree giveaway at the Wyckoff House on April 21 to celebrate Earth Day. The museum gave away 150 trees in partnership with the New York Restoration Project, which works with community organizations to give away trees throughout the city, year round.

The people receive the free trees on the condition that they agree to plant them within the five boroughs, keep them well-watered and maintained, and put them in a community garden or on their property, according to the project’s website.

There were six types of trees on offer at the event, including witch hazel, sugar maple, and river birch varieties, according to the Wyckoff House Museum’s garden manager. She said she was happiest to see how eager people were to take the trees home and start planting.

“The highlight for me was seeing how excited people were to take the tree and watch it grow,” said Anna Minsky.

The event coincided with the museum’s family day, and kids were able to go on garden tours, draw with black walnut tree ink, play colonial games, and learn about the trees at the house, which was built in 1652 by a Dutch settler and is the oldest building in the city.

Ferdinand and her niece decided to take home a red birch tree because it was clearly ready for spring.

“It was starting to blossom already,” said Ferdinand. “We made a good choice.”

Reach reporter Adam Lucente at or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow him on Twitter @Adam_Lucente.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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