Beautiful weather and a bountiful supply of trees made the fourth consecutive Waterbury-LaSalle tree giveaway the most successful handout yet.
As part of Mayor Bloomberg’s MillionTreesNYC Initiative, the Waterbury-LaSalle Community Association and First Lutheran Church of Throggs Neck teamed-up with the Department of Parks and Recreation and New York Restoration Project again for the second April in a row to distribute free trees to local residents.
On Saturday, April 30, hundreds of people, looking to take home a tree, gathered at the church to select one of many flowering and fruit-bearing trees.
Only needing proof of New York City residency to take home a tree, people began a line in front of the church at around 10 a.m., even though the giveaway was not scheduled to begin until noon.
“It shows me that people are starting to realize the value of trees because the event grows larger every time,” said Mary Jane Musano of the WLCA. “It’s a good sign that people are starting to appreciate nature again. This is easily the biggest response we have had since we started.”
The giveaway, which began in the fall of 2009 and has occurred every fall and spring since, began with 100 flowering trees, but has increased to 230 trees.
The only flowering tree available this time around was the cherry blossom tree because the dogwoods were poor quality. The fruit-bearing trees included apple, cherry, peach and fig.
The trees were delivered on Friday, April 30 and 15 volunteers, including members of Councilman Jimmy Vacca’s Vacca Volunteers Corps, helped unload the trees into the church’s backyard.
“I was able to take a peach tree home and it already had tiny peaches growing on it,” said Joan Gerardi, who also helped unload the trees the day before. “There was an overwhelming turnout for the trees. I got there around noon and the line was s already very long. We weren’t sure if we were going to get a tree.”
Information that described each type of tree was distributed. Of those in attendance was Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., who greeted those that gathered to establish a greener Bronx.
Everyone who attended waited patiently in line for a chance to take a tree home and all 230 trees were distributed by 2 p.m.
According to Musano, this was the first giveaway in which all the trees were distributed on the day of the event.
“Perhaps this is a sign that people are turning their attention back to the importance of nature,” Musano said. “Our fall giveaway always has a smaller turnout, but we hope that the success of this spring giveaway will encourage a better fall response.”
©2011 Community News Group