HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. April 26, 2019 — Members of unions representing Hempstead school staff, elected officials and others gathered at Hempstead High School today to mark the 147th national celebration of Arbor Day.
Some plantings are took place today, but due to inclement weather, the village-wide tree plantings will take place at a date to be determined in the future.
The groups plan to volunteer their time to plant trees around the Village of Hempstead.
The nearly 800 trees, shrubs and other plants that will be planted were purchased with a $1,000 Community Outreach grant from the New York State United Teachers and a $5,000 grant from the Village of Hempstead Community Development Agency. The native species plants were selected in conjunction with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the Village of Hempstead and the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Nassau County. They include winterberry, dogwood, beach plum, red oak and white spruce.
“Giving back to communities across New York is at the heart of the union movement and NYSUT’s mission,” NYSUT President Andy Pallotta said. “Not only do educators and school professionals help our children grow, this project is a reminder for all Hempstead residents about how school employees quite literally help their communities blossom.”
The fledgling plants are to be planted at Hempstead High School, Marshall School, Jackson Main School, Jackson Annex School, David Paterson School, Joseph A. McNeil School and Barack Obama School and in other public spaces around Hempstead. These new plantings will help the Town of Hempstead maintain its Tree City USA designation.
“As a native Long Islander, I am proud of the work our educators have put into helping maintain the natural beauty of our communities,” NYSUT Second Vice President Paul Pecorale said. “They are sending the right message to our students about sustainability and community pride.”
“Hempstead teachers are dedicated to being leaders not only in our schools, but also in our community,” Hempstead Classroom Teachers Association President Nicole Brown said. “This project is a reminder for our educators about how far our impact can reach. We are excited to give our community something to cherish for years to come.”
“Everyone who works in our schools strives to be role models for our kids, and giving back to the community and the environment on Arbor Day is an important example of how we carry out that mission,” Hempstead Teaching Assistants Association President Anita Reynolds said. “We hope this project instills a sense of community pride in not only our students, but everyone in Hempstead and beyond.”
“Making Hempstead a little greener is a great opportunity for us as school professionals to give back,” Hempstead Schools Civil Service Association President Pamela Parsley said. “We’re excited to leave our mark throughout the village to remind people how our schools give back every day.”
Working with the Outdoors and Environmental Education Program of Nassau BOCES, the coalition of groups involved in this year’s Arbor Day plantings will be eligible to receive matching state aid for a second year of the educator-led Arbor Day project.
“It is so gratifying to see such a collaborative effort that’s being made by all of the different parties involved in putting together this Arbor Day celebration,” said Mayor Don Ryan. “My heartfelt thanks are extended to everyone who helped make this possible. This is a great opportunity for our children to experience and to participate in by helping to beautify our school grounds and other areas of our Village.”
“This is such a wonderful way to recognize Arbor Day, and the lesson it will teach all of the children involved will live with them far into the future,” said Dr. David Gates, a Hempstead Union Free District Trustee. “We greatly appreciate all of the support and interest from our school staff and others involved in making this day possible and for the investment they are making in our children and our overall environment.”
“Arbor Day is an annual reminder of how we can take simple actions to improve our environment and beautify our surroundings,” said Gregory Sandor, executive director of the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Nassau County. “The example set by Hempstead educators, school professionals and elected officials is a great message for all residents, especially children, about how taking care of the nature around us will pay dividends for decades to come.”
New York State United Teachers is a statewide union with more than 600,000 members in education, human services and health care. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.