Trees Get a Second Life in Central Park, New York City

This bench in Central Park, New York City, shows how the park reuses trees that fall down in storms.

May 16 is National Love a Tree Day. It is important to honor our planet and think about what we can do to protect it. Trees provide shade and a home for birds. They also do an important job! They absorb carbon dioxide from the air. Then, with the sun’s energy, they release oxygen. Trees clean the air we breathe! That’s why we need parks in our cities.

Central Park in New York City is one of our country’s most beautiful parks. The park was built in 1858, right in the middle of the city. The park has always been a refuge for New Yorkers to escape the busy city. Today the park has 18,000 trees. The oldest tree is about 150 years old! Many workers care for the park and its trees.

Big storms can cause a lot of damage to the trees in Central Park. Strong winds can break the trees’ branches and even uproot a whole tree. Sometimes tree crews cut off large branches that are unsafe. After a storm, park workers collect the fallen branches and take them to a place called the Mount. They use a chainsaw to cut the branches into pieces and stack them in piles. Some of these branches are used to build structures such as benches, bridges, and gazebos. These rustic  [plain and simple] structures are designed to blend in with their surroundings. Leftover branches are turned into wood chips. The wood chips are spread along the pathways throughout the park. They help keep the soil underneath from being washed away by the rain. 

In this way, fallen branches and uprooted trees get a second life in Central Park.

What Do You Think? Why do you think it is important to care for trees?

Photo Credit: McGraw Hill