During autumn you can catch a beautiful view of the fall foliage in Central New York, but the colorful canopy is not what it used to be. When the Labor Day storm hit in 1998, tens of thousands of trees were destroyed making the canopy coverage around 27 percent compared to the national average of 40 percent.

Syracuse City Arborist Steve Harris and Gregory Michel, Executive Director of Onondaga Earth Corps are trying to restore the trees lost twenty years ago. 

Harris said trees are very beneficial for our community and environment. They keep harmful dusts out of our lungs and lower blood pressure to name a few things.

To date, Syracuse has 1.5 million trees within the limit, and Harris adds, “We care about having a good and equitably distributed canopy cover in the city.” 

Michel’s organization started not too long after the Labor Day storm in effort to restore the canopy cover. He adds that his team has planted  thousands of trees, and spoke with homeowners and landlords to get approval for planting sites. “We’re helping Steve and the Park’s department get deep into the community to get feedback about people what to see for the future of trees.”

It’s important to get the feedback in order know what benefits community members care about the most, what challenges they might have with trees and their vision for the future with trees.

One of their planting events is Saturday, October 27 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Kirk Park. They are planning on planting 79 trees, and they will continue to have these events each weekend in the fall around the city. 

For more information on how you can help visit OnondagoEarthCorps.org or syracuse.ny.us.