Aug 2 2021
The Heaven’s Gate community garden in Bed-Stuy. Photo courtesy of BQLT
The Brooklyn Queens Land Trust, a nonprofit group that owns and supports a network of 35 community gardens across Brooklyn and Queens, has been selected as a recipient of an Urban and Community Forestry Grant from the Department of Conservation of the New York State environment.
The $ 30,940 tree maintenance grant will allow the BQLT to hire professional arborists to perform the pruning and removal of trees needed in many BQLT gardens. Additionally, BQLT will partner with Trees New York to offer a special Citizen Pruner course to BQLT Garden volunteers, sponsor several fruit tree pruning workshops, and host an Arbor Day 2022 event.
The grant will also allow the group to establish a community tree council made up of volunteers interested in educating the public about the benefits of community trees. In total, it will have immediate effects on several of the 240 trees located in the gardens of the BQLT.
Among BQLT’s many Brooklyn gardens are the David Foulke Memorial Garden in Boerum Hill; the Northside Community Garden in Williamsburg; The People’s Garden at Bushwick; the Heaven’s Gate garden in Bedford-Stuyvesant; Mama Dee Garden in Crown Heights and many more.
“We are extremely grateful to receive this grant to provide much needed and much appreciated tree maintenance in many of our gardens,” said Domica Roberts, BQLT Program Director. “The preservation of open green spaces includes not only the protection of the land itself, but also the biodiversity supported by the different tree species that will be cared for with the help of these funds.”
“We are grateful to the Department of Environmental Conservation for its investment in environmental justice in the neighborhoods that house the Brooklyn Queens Land Trust Community Gardens,” said Steven Thomson, Chairman of the Board of Directors of BQLT. “The trees supported by this program will improve air quality and provide shade for New Yorkers facing a changing climate. “
“Trees are essential to our community life, public health and our environment,” said New York State Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “New York State is proud to celebrate Arbor Day by providing grants to 26 exceptional projects in communities across the state to inventory, plant and maintain public trees. “
BQLT was incorporated as a non-profit corporation in 2004, following a series of events in which former mayor Rudy Giuliani threatened to auction many of the city’s community gardens; singer Bette Midler bought many gardens in order to save them; and Giuliani’s successor, Mayor Mike Bloomberg, signed an agreement with the Trust for Public Land to save more of the community gardens.
The mission of the organization is threefold: 1) to establish a community of gardeners in Brooklyn and Queens; 2) preserve, support, manage and enhance community gardens for the benefit of the general public; and 3) act as a manager of the properties of the open space it owns.