Dec. 23, 2014 By Michael Florio
Western Queens has gotten a whole lot greener in the past four years—as one community group has planted more than 1,100 trees.
Partnership for Parks, which represents a collaboration between the non-profit group City Parks Foundation and the Parks Department, has planted nearly 1,150 trees in schools, churches, public housing sites and on sidewalks.
Of those trees, nearly 640 were planted in Astoria, 310 in Woodside, 120 in Sunnyside and about 75 in Long Island City.
The initiative, officially called Greening Western Queens (GWQ) Urban Forestry and Community Stewardship Program, has also trained residents with the skills needed to look after the trees. Since the program was kicked off more than 100-tree care events have been held in Astoria, Sunnyside, Woodside and Long Island City.
The City Parks Foundation and the Parks Dept. held an event earlier this month to celebrate the program. Two dozen volunteers and elected officials turned out to mark the occasion.
The funding for the four-year project came from a portion of the $17 million settlement that Con Edison made to compensate the public following the July 2006 power outage. Of that sum, $7.9 million went toward the Greening Western Queens program.
The leaders of the program aimed to plant 850 trees. In total, however, 1,150 trees were planted. Of those, 600 were planted on sidewalks and 530 were planted in publicly accessible private spaces, such as schools, churches and public housing sites.
It also installed a storm water mitigation bioswale (consisting of 27 trees and rain gardens) on the site of the Steinway & Sons piano factory in Astoria.
The project trained more than 400 people in tree care and held 128 tree care and greening events.
The program also installed 400 custom-designed tree guards and planted more than 1,800 native perennials in 117 tree beds.