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Root for Trees

On a typical day in NYC you walk by as many as 45 different species of trees, but can you name more than one of them? Far from launching another demanding and guilt-ridden campaign for a charity, Jessica Schweifel, founder of Root for Trees, is asking very little of New Yorkers this year. All she wants to raise is $5,000 in order to turn a walk through the city into a trip to “a mini tree museum.” “Trees,” she argues, ” are alive, just like us. Imagine if each tree you passed taught you something new, made you think twice.” Working with local artists and carpenters, Schweifel’s goal is to install ‘street tree signage’ that teaches you something about every tree in the city. Wouldn’t it be nice to know that the beautiful dark red leaves you see belong to a Schubert Cherry or a Purpleleaf Plum? Or that growing in the median on Park Avenue are six varieties of Oak? In a city covered with concrete and steel, we ought to pay more attention to the moments, however brief, when we actually pass by a part of the natural world.