MillionTreesNYC has planted over 375,000 trees, with the goal of reaching 1 million by 2017. Planting 1 million trees will increase our urban forest-- "our most valuable environmental asset made up of street trees, park trees, and trees on public, private and commercial land"-- by 20%! To reach their goal, they need New Yorkers to volunteer and get involved in the initiative. I signed up for their newsletter to receive updates on group planting days, when you can volunteer your time to plant trees at parks and housing developments across the 5 boroughs. (It's a great way to meet new people, too!) You can also plant a tree of your own and get it counted towards the goal of 1 million.
Once all these trees are planted, though, someone needs to look after them. Young trees are especially susceptible to extreme heat-- and it's been hella hot out there! I volunteered for the MillionTreesNYC Stewardship Corps-- which is a fancy way of saying I adopted a few trees in my neighborhood. There are three young pine oak trees on my street that were looking a little worse for wear that I've taken into my care. Simple things like watering them, and cleaning the weeds and trash out of their beds will help them thrive.
When you login to the Stewardship Corps website, you can search for trees in your neighborhood and add them to your page. There's a library of information on tree care, and you can keep track of your activities on your page. It's a commitment, but shouldn't take more than a half hour a week. And I found trees on my street (there were 19 to choose from!) so chances are, you don't even have to go far. The way I see it, if the city is planting all these trees for us, we should try to keep 'em growing so future generations of New Yorkers can enjoy them!