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For Release: Thursday, March 6, 2014

Opportunity Available to Support Conservation Tree Planting in New York State

Through a new partnership between the Natural Heritage Trust (NHT) and the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), the public can now support forest conservation and enhancement by donating to DEC's Tree Planting Fund through NHT, DEC announced today. Donations will help the State Tree Nursery at Saratoga continue to provide free and reduced cost seedlings to the Trees for Tribs Program and the School Seedling program, among other environmental purposes.

"Planting trees is one of the most effective ways to protect and improve water and air quality, mitigate flooding and erosion, reduce cooling and heating energy needs, increase property values, and improve quality of life for people and wildlife around them," DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said.

Since its creation in 1911, the State Tree Nursery at Saratoga has produced more than 1.6 billion seedlings to enhance and protect the forest resources of New York. The State Tree Nursery at Saratoga is involved in green infrastructure, riparian restoration, restoration of rare and endangered species, alternative fuels, preserving species for the future, and plant research.

Trees for Tribs harnesses the energy of volunteers to restore streamside buffers through tree and shrub planting using native bare-root stock from the State Tree Nursery at Saratoga. The program provides land owners, not-for-profits and local governments with low-cost or no-cost planting materials and free technical assistance. Coordinating with local, state and federal agencies, Trees for Tribs focuses on comprehensive watershed restoration designed to protect the "green infrastructure," the first line of defense against storm and flooding events, as well as improvements to property, water quality, fish and wildlife, and biodiversity. Trees for Tribs promotes best management practices for communities and encourages new programs, policies and investments in tributary protection.

Modeled after the successful Hudson River Estuary Trees for Tribs program, the state's Trees for Tribs program has engaged more than 3,000 volunteers in planting 35,000 trees and shrubs to restore more than 80,000 linear feet of riparian buffer. The Trees for Tribs program works hand in hand with the State Tree Nursery at Saratoga to utilize local seed sources, which ensure reliably hardy stock.

The State Tree Nursery at Saratoga's School Seedling program provides free seedlings to schools and school-sponsored organizations for hands-on education programs. When students plant tree seedlings, they can see for themselves the structure of trees, and learn what trees need and how trees grow. Teachers can incorporate what trees need to survive and their benefits into science, math and other subjects of study. Students also become aware that they can play a role in protecting the environment through personal involvement in establishing a grove of trees.

The NHT was established in 1968 as a public benefit corporation of the State of New York. The NHT's mission is to receive and administer gifts, grants and contributions to further public programs for parks, recreation, cultural, land and water conservation and historic preservation purposes of the State of New York. The NHT accomplishes its mission by accepting donations, raising funds, and through cooperative programs and projects with its agency partners: New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP), Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Department of State (DOS). The NHT also partners with a number of other public and private entities, not-for-profits and friends groups to secure and administer funding. The NHT is dedicated to building and sustaining relationships with organizations that share mission compatible goals and purposes.

Checks should be made out to: Natural Heritage Trust and indicate "DEC Tree Fund-602" in the memo line.

Mail donations to:
NHT Tree Planting Fund
c/o Director of Management and Budget Services
625 Broadway
Albany, NY 12233-5010

More information on the State Tree Nursery at Saratoga visit the DEC website.

More information on DEC's Trees for Tribs program visit the DEC website.

More information on the School Seedling program visit the DEC website.

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