April 29, 2016
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Highlights Arbor Day With Tree Planting Event in Capital Region

TOP Governor Cuomo Highlights Arbor Day With Tree...

More than 30,000 trees to be planted across New York in 2016

Arbor Day poster contest winners announced, seedlings available at New York State nursery


Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today celebrated Arbor Day and highlighted “Trees for Tributaries” – an initiative to foster the planting of more than 30,000 trees along tributaries, small creeks, and streams across the state. As part of a state Arbor Day Celebration, officials from the Department of Environmental Conservation and the State Arbor Day Committee joined local partners at an event in Raoul Wallenberg Park in downtown Albany.

“Arbor Day is an opportunity for all New Yorkers to recognize the beauty of trees and the vital role they play in our communities,” said Governor Cuomo. “By committing ourselves to planting more trees and protecting the environment overall, we’re taking a crucial step toward building a cleaner, greener and stronger state for future generations.”

Arbor Day is a nationally celebrated observance that promotes tree plantings and tree care and highlights the importance of trees to the environment, economy and overall quality of life. Founded by J. Sterling Morton in Nebraska in 1872, National Arbor Day is celebrated each year on the last Friday in April and was started as an initiative to encourage farmers and homesteaders to plant trees that would provide shade, shelter, food, fuel and beauty to open areas.

DEC Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos said: “Planting trees and shrubs along stream corridors prevents erosion, increases flood water retention, improves wildlife and stream habitat, and protects water quality. Today’s City of Albany tree planting event in conjunction with the work of DEC’s ‘Trees for Tributaries’ program are great ways to honor Arbor Day and all that trees do to protect and enhance our environment, economy and quality of life.”

Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard A. Ball said: “There is something very special about getting your hands in the dirt, planting a tree and watching it grow. Arbor Day is a perfect opportunity to do just that and to highlight the importance of trees to our health, our environment, and our economy.”

State and local officials convened for this year’s event in an Albany park known for its lunchtime work crowds who gather under the shade of ash trees. The park’s trees have recently been identified by the city forester as needing protection from the emerald ash borer beetle. At the event, tree “price tags” adorned park trees to demonstrate the benefits of trees; for example, one tree in the park provides, on average, $1,500 in benefits over a 15-year period. Northern Nurseries in Schenectady donated this year’s ceremonial tulip tree.

Assemblymember Patrica Fahy said: “Today’s Arbor Day celebration reminds us to celebrate trees as a critical way to counter global warming and do our part to create a healthy environment. New York State has an abundance of trees and forests that add to the quality of life of all New Yorkers. Care and preservation of our trees is a top priority as we invest in our environmental future.”

Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy said: “We talk about being greener and living green but there is no better way to do that than to recognize the importance of trees. Trees are beautiful and are an essential part of our parks, neighborhoods and streets. But they also are vital as they improve air quality, provide oxygen for us to breathe, help us control the climate and so much more. Today is a day to celebrate trees but we should do everything we can each day to make sure we nurture and preserve them.”

Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan said: “Albany is proud to once again be designated as a Tree City U.S.A. this year. The beautiful urban landscape of historical buildings and ornate architecture that is Albany, is even more appealing thanks to the trees in our neighborhoods. I am encouraged by the many residents eager to become better stewards of the environment. We are creating a healthier planet for us all."

Recognized for his donation of artwork to create the official Arbor Day poster was Robert Near of Sleepy Hollow Lake in Greene County. A framed copy of the poster was presented to him at the event.

The Arbor Day celebration also recognized the artwork of DEC’s children’s poster contest winner, Maheen Naqvi, 5th Grader from Dutch Lane Elementary School, Hicksville, Nassau County. The theme of this year’s children’s artwork was New York’s Un-Fir-Gettable Forests. Over 2,000 students participated in the poster contest event from schools across the state this year.

Arbor Day in New York State is coordinated by the Arbor Day Committee, consisting of representatives from the New York State Departments of Agriculture and Markets and Environmental Conservation, the New York State Nursery Landscape Association, New York State Arborists, International Paper and the Empire State Forest Products Association. For more information about celebrating Arbor Day, please click here or call 518-402-9425.


In conjunction with Arbor Day, DEC also launched its Trees for Tributaries program, an ongoing effort since 2007 to reforest New York's tributaries, small creeks and streams. This year, DEC will send 30,000 native trees and shrubs from the Saratoga Tree Nursery across New York. Volunteers will gather at various planting sites over the next few weeks to plant bareroot trees and shrubs at local parks, private residences, land trust lands, local schools, DEC lands, and State Parks.

Riparian areas can be damaged during flooding or due to land development projects. Trees planted along tributaries help to reduce pollution entering waterways by slowing down and filtering runoff, thus extending retention time and improving water quality. These buffers also help to reduce flooding and erosion by stabilizing shorelines and absorbing high velocity flows. In addition, they serve an important role for wildlife as a shoreline transition zone and travel corridor, not to mention increasing overall biodiversity and improving in-stream health.

More than 7,600 volunteers have planted hundreds of thousands of trees and shrubs at 470 sites across New York State since the program was started.

Upcoming Trees for Tributaries planting events include:

Hudson Estuary Trees for Tributaries

  • Fri., April 29th – NYS DEC Region 3 Office Pot Up Event, New Paltz
  • Sat., April 30th - Greenvale Park, Poughkeepsie
  • Sat., May 7th – Sojourner Truth Park, New Paltz
  • Sat., May 7th – Schunnemunk State Park, Cornwall
  • Sat., May 7th – Red Hook Recreation Park, Red Hook
  • Sun., May 8th – Falling Waters Preserve, Saugerties
  • Sat., May 14th – Monhagen Brook, Wawayanda (RSVP required)
  • Sat., May 21st – Cronomer Park, Newburgh

Upper Hudson Trees for Tributaries

  • Sat., April 30th – Battenkill Conservancy’s Schmidt Meadow Preserve, Jackson

Upper Susquehanna Trees for Tributaries

  • Sat., May 14th – Hickory Park, Owego
  • Tues. May 24th – Wed. May 25th Jackson Park, Binghamton

Other Trees for Tributaries

  • Sat., May 7th – Connetquot River State Park, Long Island
  • Fri., May 13th and Sat. May 14th –Saratoga Tree Nursery Pot Up Event with Saratoga PLAN, Saratoga Springs 
  • Sat., May 14th – Friends of Scarsdale Parks at Harwood Park, Scarsdale

Trees for Tributaries would like to thank all of the partners who help to make these events possible. For additional event dates, locations and details, please click here.


The State Tree Nursery at Saratoga's School Seedling program is providing 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 the benefits trees provide 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 seedlings are 2-3 years old, about 4"-12" tall, and bare root. They are light enough for young children to carry and plant. Shipment is by UPS, running through the third week in May. Select a shipping date at least 3 days prior to the planting date. Shipping takes place on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesdayonly. Click here to find out more information on the seedling program and how to order trees.

The State Tree Nursery also has seedlings for sale to the general public. The spring seedling sale is currently under way through mid-May. Click here to learn information about the trees and shrubs for sale.

Contact the Governor's Press Office
Contact the Governor's Press Office