Students from local environmental high schools will spread out across Queens to collect data on the health of New York City trees, especially in neighborhoods affected by Hurricane Sandy.
As part of The Nature Conservancy’s Leaders in Environmental Action for the Future (LEAF) program in conjunction with the NYC Trees Count! initiative, 12 interns will count street trees and inspect flooded and non-flooded trees in the northern and southern borders of Queens. Many of the interns, who are also surveying trees in Brooklyn, Manhattan and the Bronx for this internship, are from Metropolitan Expeditionary Learning School in Forest Hills.
Students will also collect data for a U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and NYC Parks study of trees directly impacted by Hurricane Sandy. The NYC Parks Department estimates that Hurricane Sandy flooded 47,900 street trees in the city. As a result of the storm, almost 20,000 public trees in New York city were completely destroyed. The data collected by LEAF interns will help environmental groups better understand the long-term impacts of hurricanes and other interruptions on urban forests and coastal areas.
The program will take place throughout Queens on Aug. 21 and students will visit Astoria on Aug. 12 for data collection.
“The main goal of the LEAF program is to expose urban youth to nature and conservation careers at a young age to nurture a passion for the environment which will stick with them both personally and professionally for the rest of their lives,” said Brigitte Griswold, director of youth programs for The Nature Conservancy. “Providing students with the opportunity to participate in actual conservation projects is a great complement to their environmental classroom learning and gives them hands-on experience they may not otherwise get during the school year.”