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SWS Launches “Trees With Purpose” Initiative To Improve Low Canopy Cover in NYC Neighborhoods

The Grant Program Kicked Off Last Week with A Tree-Planting Event in the Bronx

Siebert Williams Shank ("Siebert Williams") launched their new grant program titled “Trees With Purpose” last week with a community-wide tree planting event in the Bronx. On May 25, volunteers from Siebert Williams and the local New York City environmental nonprofit Trees New York planted nine large shade trees throughout the Crotona Parkway Malls to help improve low canopy cover, ameliorate high surface temperatures in the area, and create public green space for the community.

The Trees With Purpose program through Trees New York will enable more than 20 street trees to be planted in total throughout the city. This initiative aligns with Siebert Williams’ overall commitment to sustainability and achieving carbon neutrality by 2030 through their partnership with Green Places, a climate technology company. As part of their larger climate action plan, Siebert Williams is focused on addressing climate inequity within their community.

"As part of our sustainability strategy, we've sought to invest in projects that positively impact areas hit hardest by the effects of rising temperatures. Being able to assist in the planting and make a difference in our backyard makes Trees With Purpose a particularly meaningful project for the organization," said DiAnne Calabrisotto, Chief Operating Officer at Siebert Williams.

The trees planted last week included a mix of Kentucky Coffeetrees, Japanese Zelkovas, and Honey Locusts. These hardy species are known to thrive in urban environments, and Trees New York will continue to care for the new trees to ensure their success. The remaining trees will be planted throughout the spring across parks, public playgrounds, and even parking lots in New York City—places where the average temperature can vary by up to 10 degrees because surface areas, like concrete and asphalt, heat up too quickly due to minimal tree cover.

Siebert Williams chose to partner with Trees New York in part ​​because of the organization’s dedication to planting and preserving New York City's street trees through education and community participation. The nonprofit works with Urban Arborist Inc., a Brooklyn-based company, to transport the trees and place them in the ground—ensuring local job creation. Trees New York also employs high schoolers as summer interns. Interns are educated on the planting process and taught the responsibility of aftercare, including returning to hydrants near tree planting sites and using them as a source of water to nourish the trees, monitoring tree growth, etc.

“We chose Crotona Parkway in the Bronx for this particular event because we're trying to increase the canopy cover in underserved neighborhoods that, for a long time, haven't seen a lot of trees, and therefore haven't been able to reap the benefits that trees provide," commented Nelson Villarrubia, Executive Director of Trees New York. "When a tree is planted, there's a nice trickle-down effect. Beyond providing shade and sequestering air pollution, our organization inspires educational programming and brings jobs to communities. For this planting, we partnered with contractors at a fair wage as well as summer interns, providing their first summer jobs in urban forestry."

The Trees New York partnership is part of Siebert Williams ongoing sustainability plan with Green Places that involves tracking their carbon footprint, reducing their emissions, and removing carbon from the atmosphere through verified projects.

"At Green Places, we don't believe that sustainability has to be complicated to make a real impact on both our planet and local communities” added Alex Lassiter, CEO and Founder of Green Places. “Siebert Williams and Trees New York partnership is a keystone example of how climate action can bring together businesses that are seeking to do better, and community-based, science-backed solutions.”

Photo Credits: Shravya Kag


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