Deliver Benefits to the Public

Benefiting from urban collaboration for veteran trees

A photo of A veteran tree in New York City
A veteran tree in New York City. Photo credit: Kevin T. Smith, USDA Forest Service

Supervisory plant physiologist Kevin T. Smith led a field workshop March 29–30 for arborists, park managers and community organizers on the biology and contributions of veteran trees to highly-visited urban landscapes in New York City. Veteran Tree Care was organized by and held at Brooklyn Botanic Garden and Green-Wood Cemetery, historic sites that are rich in veteran trees.

In addition to practical educational material, the workshop provided a forum to discuss management options to maintain individual trees that have witnessed historic events and continue to add ecosystem benefits, such as clean air and reduced energy costs, to the city environment.

“Veteran” trees are those with real experience in the landscape. They may have less than perfect textbook form due to injury from wind, rain, snow, flooding and pressure from the city landscape. The trees demonstrate how environmental factors affect development.

This was the first joint, hands-on session co-sponsored by the world-renowned Brooklyn Botanic Garden and the historic Green-Wood Cemetery. Founded in 1910, Brooklyn Botanic Garden is an urban botanic garden that connects people to the world of plants, fostering delight and curiosity while inspiring an appreciation and sense of stewardship of the environment. Founded in 1838 and now a National Historic Landmark, Green-Wood Cemetery includes 478 spectacular acres of hills, valleys, glacial ponds and paths. Four seasons of beauty from 150-year-old trees offer a peaceful oasis to visitors, as well as its 560,000 permanent residents.