Date: September 17, 2020
Contact: Frank Zeoli
ALBANY, NY – Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan joined local elected officials, city officials, community representatives, and philanthropists to announce the City of Albany’s “2025 Trees” Initiative.
This program sets a goal of planting 2,025 new trees in the City of Albany by the year 2025. The program will also include an “adopt a tree” component – providing residents, businesses, and community organizations with the opportunity to adopt a tree anywhere in the City of Albany or donate to the initiative to ensure trees are planted in the neighborhoods where the urban forest is most at risk.
The City of Albany’s urban forest faces unprecedented challenges from both invasive insect and tree species, as well as climate change. Those factors have resulted in a decline in Albany’s urban forest cover, especially in neighborhoods such as the South End, West Hill, and Pine Hills. The City of Albany estimates that more than 1,000 street trees have been lost to various factors since 2008.
This program will help replace lost trees while enhancing and preserving our urban forest for years to come by planting thousands of new trees across the City – especially in the neighborhoods where the urban forest is most at risk.
The Albany Parking Authority and Albany Housing Authority will provide financial support for this initiative in order to plant new trees at and adjacent to their respective Authority properties.
“I am proud to join the City of Albany Department of General Services to commit to planting 2025 trees in the City of Albany by 2025 to ensure that Albany’s urban forest continues to thrive for future generations,” said Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan. “The Adopt-A-Tree Program is a wonderful way to improve the quality of life in the City of Albany. Trees make our streets more beautiful, improve property values, and contribute to a healthier, more sustainable environment.”
“Trees provide countless benefits to individuals and communities,” said Assemblymember John T. McDonald III. “Trees can reduce stress, clean and cool the air, and help us fight climate change. This initiative by the City of Albany is a great way to stand up to climate change and beautify our area at the same time.”
“Climate change continues to be the transcendent threat of our lifetime and we’re seeing its effects right here in New York’s Capital City and more broadly across the Upstate region,” said Assemblymember Patricia Fahy. “Arrivals of new invasive species, extreme, unseasonal temperatures, and threatened watersheds are all examples of climate change’s impact on our area. Despite this, the City of Albany’s continued work in climate mitigation is paying dividends, having earned New York State’s ‘climate smart community’ title, among other important steps. Expanding and protecting Albany’s urban forestry through the 2,025x2025 initiative is yet another innovative, climate-smart solution Mayor Sheehan and Albany are implementing to protect our communities and neighborhoods from what are disparaging and devastating effects of a rapidly changing climate.”
“The City of Albany and Mayor Sheehan have been great partners helping to advance a myriad of critical projects that are improving air and water quality across the city and strengthening environmental protections to build a healthier and more sustainable community,” said New York State DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “Increasing challenges caused by climate change, including invasive pests like Emerald Ash Borer, are plaguing rural and urban forests alike and make programs like Adopt-A-Tree more important than ever to help ensure a cleaner and greener Albany for generations to come.”
“This new commitment to plant 2,025 new trees by 2025 is a significant step towards replacing dying trees or adding new trees where they do not currently exist,” said 10th Ward Common Council Member Owusu Anane. “Trees are an equity issue, because neighborhoods without street trees in the City are those with the highest poverty rates, and those with economic and social challenges. I thank Mayor Sheehan for listening to the people’s concerns and acting on them. By calling on residents to adopt trees, and calling on the business community to sponsor trees, hopefully we can reach this goal before 2025.”
“This initiative is connecting individuals and businesses with the opportunity to adopt a tree, nurture it and watch it grow for many years to come” said Sergio Panunzio, Commissioner of the Department of General Services. “I am confident with the help of the Albany community we can re-populate our urban forest”.
“The Albany Parking Authority is proud to be a co-sponsor of this important initiative through planting trees on or adjacent to Parking Authority property,” said Albany Parking Authority Executive Director Matthew Peter. “Trees create inviting, welcome spaces across our City, help reverse the impacts of climate change, and are especially important near parking garages and other parking areas – most of which are in our most vibrant and well walked business districts.”
“The Albany Housing Authority is proud to support this important initiative,” said Albany Housing Authority Executive Director Chiquita D’Arbeau. “Trees are vital to making our neighborhoods inviting, safe, and vibrant, and the AHA is proud to help ensure new trees are planted on or adjacent to our properties. Thank you to the City of Albany and Mayor Kathy Sheehan for setting this important goal and for continuing to ensure investment in our most historically underserved communities.”
“We hope that our Foundation’s commitment to this environmentally significant project will encourage other businesses and foundations to participate in some of our more underserved neighborhoods where trees and other greenery are in short supply” said Charles Touhey, Carl Touhey Foundation.