To kick off the 2021 Collaborative Tree Planting Initiative in Schenectady, a Princeton elm (UImus ‘Princeton’) was planted at Martin Luther King Elementary School in honor of Earth Day. Attendees included Schenectady youth and representatives from the City of Schenectady, Schenectady County, Schenectady Job Training Agency, National Grid, Community Fathers, LandArt Studio, ReTree Schenectady, and Martin Luther King Elementary School.

See also Schenectady’s Dynamic Tree Planting Collaboration: 2022 Update

Last summer, ReTree Schenectady, the City of Schenectady, Schenectady County, Community Fathers, and the Schenectady Job Training Agency collaborated to plant 50 trees in environmental justice focus areas. Trees were planted by a small group of youth who were employed through Schenectady County Summer Youth Employment Program. They were led by Kenneth Brooks of OIOI (Occupations Instead of Incarceration), which is part of Community Fathers.

Kenneth Brooks of Occupations Instead of Incarceration and Schenectady youth planting a Japanese tree lilac (Syringa reticulata) on Stanley Street in the Hamilton Hill neighborhood of Schenectady.

Funds for trees were provided through a grant from National Grid in response to an October 2020 derecho (sustained windstorm) that felled a lot of trees in Schenectady. ReTree Schenectady coordinated tree selection and delivery and provided instruction on planting, pruning, and maintenance.

Schenectady youth plant a ‘Street Keeper’ honeylocust (Gleditsia triacanthos) on Erie Boulevard, in front of Ring of Hope Boxing Club. ‘Street Keeper’ has a tight, narrow form and deep green foliage.

ReTree Schenectady President Betsy Henry says, “We were particularly excited about the collaboration this planting season, because it relied on community engagement and focused on neighborhoods where trees are sparse.”

Armstrong red maples (Acer rubrum ‘Armstrong’) in Wallingford Park in the Mont Pleasant neighborhood of Schenectady.

The City of Schenectady has also received an Urban and Community Forestry Grant of $61,200 from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) for a city-wide tree inventory and tree management plan. This will assist in improving the urban forest with comprehensive planning to identify and assess both existing trees and open planting sites.

Schenectady teens gear up to prune young trees the City’s Central Park.


Schenectady youth planting a Princeton elm at Wallingford Park.


Newly planted tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) in Schenectady’s Wallingford Park.

Thank you to ReTree Schenectady and Betsy Henry for supplying photos and text for this post. You can read the City of Schenectady’s full press release about this year’s collaborative tree planting here.🌳