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BY KAITLYN MEADE | No, you can’t take them home and they won’t cuddle with you in the winter, but the trees up for adoption at Hudson River Park are worthy acquisitions for any avid arborist. Their upkeep is relatively hassle-free — just sunlight and water — and is taken care of by the park staff. They come in four varieties: waterfront, evergreen, ornamental and majestic. Best of all, you can select the perfect tree from the comfort of your home through an online program!
The adopt-a-tree website, launched by the Friends of Hudson River Park in December, shows an interactive map of the park with tree markers that can be clicked on for a description of each tree, its location, Latin name and the date it was planted. Donors through the online database can give each tree an online tag, write a dedication and attach photos to it, in addition to a physical tree tag affixed during a ceremony sometime in the spring.
“The tree program itself was a team-created program with members of the Trust and Friends of Hudson River Park coming together to try to help support the park’s revenue while also promoting the environmental side,” said Blake Beatty, director of development for Friends, the park’s private fundraising group.
There have been ten trees adopted so far, according to Beatty, “which may not sound like a large number, but we only have 70 trees available right now,” mostly in Tribeca and Greenwich Village. That number is expected to grow as they designate more trees to the north along the West Side Highway.
Homemaker magnate Martha Stewart was reportedly the first to adopt a tree through this program. Stewart, a Friends board member, adopted two trees and named them for her grandchildren.
Adopting a tree is more of a financial commitment than adopting a shelter dog. The least expensive “Sapling Level” runs $2,500 for a two-year tree tag and an invitation to an annual community event. There are two higher levels, “Shaded Canopy” at $5,000 and “Root Network” at $10,000. Donors who want to give more than $10,000 might be allowed to plant a tree of their own, Beatty said.
Money from the adoptions will go toward maintaining the five-mile-long park, operations and repairing the estimated $10 million damage caused by Hurricane Sandy.
“It’s a great way to create more personal connections for park lovers while helping to ensure the park is well-maintained for generations to come,” said A.J. Pietrantone, executive director of Friends, in a statement.
PHOTO LEFT: Majestic Tree #1 in Tribeca: Saw Tooth Oak. This is the southernmost deciduous tree of a set of three just north of Battery Park. It is the only deciduous tree planted on the lawn of this section of the park. Latin Name: Quercus acutissima. Planted in Hudson River Park Fall 2009.
RIGHT: Evergreen Tree #29 in Tribeca: Eastern Red Cedar Just north of the Laight Street Bosque (grove) the boardwalk path begins. As you enter, after the first right, this evergreen tree lies just left of the path. Latin Name: Juniperus virginiana. Planted in Hudson River Park Spring 2008. Downtown Express photos by Kaitlyn Meade.