Syracuse, N.Y. – As part of its’ long-term goal to increase tree canopy in the city, the City of Syracuse Department of Parks, Recreation & Youth Programs will hold a tree giveaway, while supplies last, on Friday, September 16 at 10 a.m. during the Home HeadQuarters Block Blitz in Homer Wheaton Park, 311 Mountainview Ave, 13224. The tree giveaway is being piloted as one of several initiatives Syracuse Parks and its’ collaborators will utilize to increase tree planting on private property.

For the Friday giveaway, residents must live in Salt Springs and own their property or have the authority to plant on it. Twenty-minute tree care workshops will take place at Homer Wheaton every 30 minutes during the giveaway. Residents will get guidance on where to plant the trees for best success. Plans to implement additional tree giveaways into neighborhoods around the city of Syracuse will be devised after a pilot evaluation.

“This fall will be one of our biggest seasons in terms of numbers of trees planted. In addition to our neighborhood tree give away contractors and Onondaga Earth Corps will plant trees along streets and in parks. Large-scale planting projects will also occur in our natural areas” said City Arborist Steve Harris. Funds for planting comes from American Rescue Plan Act, grants from state of New York and US Fish and Wildlife and anonymous donors.

The Parks Department has an annual goal to plant 1,200 trees annually. “It will take every kind of landowner to help us increase canopy goals city wide. While we develop partnerships with the community to reach that goal, Parks will continue to focus our planting efforts in areas where trees are needed most. This includes our lowest canopy neighborhoods which are the hottest and have the poorest air quality. We are especially looking at how to increase canopy around schools, health centers, bus stops… places that our youngest and oldest residents live, learn and work.”

The UFMP recommends three over-arching goals: increase education and engagement, grow canopy, and improve urban forest resiliency (by having a diverse urban forest that is well managed). The biggest challenge are the planting goals: 70,000 trees in 20 years (3,500 per year) to increase the canopy an estimated 7% (from 28% to 35%).

In the coming months, 700 trees will be planted across the city along streets including Audubon Parkway, Ballantyne Ave, Butternut Street, Columbus Ave, S Edwards Ave, Lynwood Ave, and E Water Street. These highlighted are places where new sidewalks have been installed. Many trees will also be planted at our parks, including Kirk Park, Loguen Park, McKinley Park, Onondaga Park (lower), Ormand Spencer Park, Rose Hill Cemetery, Salem Hyde School, Schiller Park, and Thornden Park.

A large restoration project will take place at Schiller Park. Volunteers are welcome to this family-friendly tree planting event at Schiller Park on Saturday, November 5, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. they can register at

Additional volunteer tree planting opportunities can be found here:

The Parks department is currently seeking spring and fall 2023 planting sites. If homeowners in the city of Syracuse want a free tree planted in front of their home, they can email Kim Phan at to see if they qualify.

Additionally, the Forestry team will be hosting four free tree identification walks to educate park goers on the wide variety of tree species in city parks. Pre-registration is required online at

  • Elmwood Park | Thursday, Sept. 15, 5 to 6 p.m.
  • Creekwalk at Kirk Park | Saturday, Oct. 1, 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.
  • Thornden Park | Thursday, Oct. 13, 5 to 6 p.m.
  • Pass Arboretum | Saturday, Oct. 22, 10 to 11 a.m.

To learn more about the Urban Forest Master Plan visit For questions about upcoming events, email Kim Phan at

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