Submitted by Admin on Thu, 04/23/2015 - 17:06

NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP announces the Arbor Day launch of the TreesCount! mobile app which will be used by volunteers to register and collect data during the largest street tree count in the nation. Trees Count! 2015 will officially begin with a kick-off event at Julio Carballo Park in the South Bronx on May 19. Parks is seeking to involve five thousand volunteers and is partnering with local civic and neighborhood groups to help make this census a success. Street trees make up approximately one fifth of all trees on City land and offer enormous public benefits. The knowledge gained from this census will be vital to the health of our urban forest. Interested volunteers:

"We want New Yorkers to feel a connection to their street trees right outside their windows, to our wild forests along the coast, and to all the open spaces in between," said Commissioner Silver. "Our street trees beautify neighborhoods, make our communities more resilient in the face of climate change, and increase property values. The important work our volunteers will be doing during Trees Count! 2015 will help us support the next generation of both trees and stewards, and will allow us to gain insight into what we can do to make our urban forest even stronger. Trees count -- can we count on you?"

This will be the third tree census in New York City history. The 1995 Street Tree Census provided Parks with valuable information about the City’s urban forest including its species, size, condition, and distribution across the landscape, allowing Parks to quantify for the first time the maintenance needs of our street trees. The 2005 Street Tree Census helped to inform best practices and by quantifying the ecological benefits of our street trees, paved the way for MillionTreesNYC, which is nearing completion this year with nearly 950,000 trees planted, 30% of which are street trees.

Now ten years later, it is time to count our trees once again, this time with the help of innovative new technology and mapping tools. This year will mark the first time Parks will be using an app, developed by Azavea, that can generate and upload data in real time, tablets to record data in the field, and social media to rally volunteers and engage communities. This census will identify urban forest trends and changes, be used to calculate environmental and economic benefits, create the most accurate and publically accessible tree map in the world, and inspire a new generation of stewards to protect and care for New York City’s trees.

NYC Parks has been working with TreeKIT, a local non-profit organization since 2010 to map more than 12,000 street trees throughout Western Queens. Together, in 2013, Parks and TreeKIT partnered with OpenPlans and CartoDB to prototype and test a mobile data entry tool that simplifies the tree mapping process.

The TreeKIT mapping method and Azavea's accompanying mobile app are the foundation of TreesCount! 2015. TreeKIT is easy to use and generates a representative map of the urban forest that places the tree exactly where it is located along the curb. The methodology has been well-tested through the many collaborations that TreeKIT has had with neighborhood-based organizations citywide over the past five years. TreeKIT is an initiative sponsored by the Open Space Institute through its Citizen Action Program.

Using the TreeKIT method, NYC Parks, partner organizations and committed volunteers will count and collect information on every one of the City’s estimated 600,000 street trees.

NYC Parks invites local community organizations, corporate groups, and schools to partner with us for TreesCount! 2015. We will work with all groups to select a Census Zone that is close to home, develop a schedule of training and mapping events, provide tools and teach group leaders everything they need to know to be a Partner Group for TreesCount! 2015.

We also welcome motivated individual volunteers to get involved. Parks and Partner Groups will be hosting mapping events all summer and all are invited. Beginning on Arbor Day on April 24, 2015 and continuing throughout the summer, voluntreers will be able to create a unique user profile, experience the online learning session and begin rsvp-ing to field-based training events hosted by NYC Parks or a Partner Group. Training events will be happening all over the city and all of the necessary equipment will be provided