Cool Season Tree ID Where G.I.V.E. Began

Here, you see the No. 6 train station at Hugh Grant Circle where London plane trees dominate

Here, you see the No. 6 train station at Hugh Grant Circle where London plane trees dominate.

Welcome to the Parkchester neighborhood of the Bronx.  You are about to walk the urban forest where hundreds of school children make a path daily.  The photos that follow were taken in November 2013.  This is where Nilka Martell and her children (Lia Lynn and Isaias Vega) began a community greening program called G.I.V.E. in 2011.  It had expanded throughout much of the Bronx, in periodic initiatives, by fall 2013.   G.I.V.E. (Getting Involved Virginia Avenue Efforts) started out as a small block beautification project behind the C-Town Supermarket on Newbold Avenue at Virginia Avenue (just off Hugh Grant Circle).  They plug youths into volunteer work, teaching them to care for Bronx County while developing social skills and learning job skills.  G.I.V.E. leaders seek to cultivate awareness of urban environmental issues through volunteerism, education, activism, and hands-on experiences.

          Neighbors of different cultures are improving shared public spaces like parks and streetscapes.  Some of the more active participants include Eileen Bonilla, Christine Ortega, Katie Mitchell, Jaclyn Machicote, Margaret Ayala, Michelle Colon, Manny Perez, Christopher Santiago, Andre Christopher Rivera, Morgan Powell, Robert, Tony, Donna among many others.  The youth team includes Pete Perez, Angelique H., Erick Williams, Isaiah, Sabrina, Veronica, Kaykay, Jonathan, Arianna and many more.

          Walk their streets – digitally or in person – as if arriving by no. 6 train on your way to a local school.  Each photo can be enjoyed in greater detail when you click on them.

          Your journey proceeds east on Virginia Avenue from Hugh Grant Circle, then turns north/makes a left on Haviland Avenue, before making the first right on Pugsley Ave. and concluding at the intersection of Blackrock Avenue by Public School 119.  Most trees along this route are left unidentified here to encourage you in your own exploration! 

This Tulip tree lives where Hugh Grant Circle meets Virginia Avenue.  It's one of many new trees planted by NYC's Million Trees initiative of the last few years.  The tidy wooden fence around its tree pit was custom built by G.I.V.E. under the carpentry mastery of Eileen Bonilla!

This Tulip tree lives where Hugh Grant Circle meets Virginia Avenue. It’s one of many new trees planted by the Million Trees NYC initiative. The tidy wooden fences around many tree pits in this route were custom built by G.I.V.E.’s master carpenter Eileen Bonilla!

Hackberry trees stands proud along Newbold Avenue just off Virginia Avenue where G.I.V.E. began and continues to thrive with a wide range of activities from spring to fall.

Hackberry trees stand proud along Newbold Avenue just off Virginia Avenue where G.I.V.E. began and continues to thrive with a wide range of activities from spring to fall.  Get close to see this tree’s distinctive bumpy bark.

This Hornbean tree variety has been bred for compact expression.

This Hornbeam tree variety has been bred for compact expression.

The generous slender Ash tree fruit are unmistakable here!  Ash species are very popular throughout this part of the East Bronx.

The generous slender fruit at Ellis Avenue mark this tree as unmistakably Ash! Ash species are very popular throughout this part of the East Bronx.

Zelkova tree radiates by Church of the Revelation.

A Zelkova tree radiates by the Church of the Revelation.  Notice the tri-colored bark and unique branching patterns.

Bare Golden rain trees against spruce and house at Gleason Avenue.

Bare Golden rain trees against a Spruce tree and a house at Gleason Avenue.

Golden rain tree at Gleason Avenue

Gleason Avenue.  Golden rain tree fruit look like nothing else in our climate zone.

Red Maple against neo-Tudor house at 1178 Virginia Avenue

The pale bark of this Red Maple stands out against a neo-Tudor style house at 1178 Virginia Avenue.

Large leaf buds mark this a Red maple tree with branches in two colors.

Large leaf buds radiate from this Red maple tree.  The size and shape of these buds reveal the identity of this species which sometimes exhibits branches in two tones.

Cherry tree leaves show reddish fall hue.

These Cherry tree leaves show a reddish fall hue.

Cherry tree bark @ Powell Avenue

Notice the silky shine and horizontal scars of Cherry tree bark seen here at Powell Avenue.  The next tree in our tour is just off Virginia Ave. on Haviland Ave.

Maple fruit help you identify the family of this unusually-barked tree

Paperbark maples have distinctive (trident) three-part leaves

Paperbark maples have bark that appears to peel as shown in the previous image.  They also have distinctive trident (three-part) leaves.  This is your first stop away from Virginia Avenue.  You are now walking toward the next corner after crossing the street for…

November-blooming Cherry tree at 1932 Haviland Avenue off Virginia Ave.

A November-blooming Cherry tree at 1932 Haviland Avenue off Virginia Ave.

Row of Pin oaks parallels London plane trees at Haviland Playground.

Row of Pin oaks parallels London plane trees by Haviland Playground.

Northern red oaks at IS 125 on Pugsley and Haviland Avenues.

Northern red oaks at IS 125 on Pugsley and Haviland Avenues.  Tip: Examine shapes and colors with greater clarity by clicking on images of interest to you.

Radiant Callery pear tree at Intermediate school 125

Radiant Callery pear tree at Intermediate School 125 on Watson and Pugsley Avenues.  This tree is one of the first to flower in spring time.  White blossoms galore tell you warmer weather is coming.  See P.S. 119 across the street.

P.S. 119 door framed by trees and shrubs.

This P.S. 119 door is framed by trees and shrubs.  How would you identify them?

A majestic White pine graces P.S. 119 at the intersection of Pugsley and Blackrock Avenues.

A majestic White pine graces P.S. 119 at the intersection of Pugsley and Blackrock Avenues.

Thank you for joining this journey walked by thousands of New Yorkers every week!  Enjoy further Bronx tree ID with this video.

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12 thoughts on “Cool Season Tree ID Where G.I.V.E. Began

  1. czvasser says:

    Nature in the fall, the height of its seasonal maturity, is wonderful and Morgan shows us how to appreciate it with this article. We have a tendency to think once something has bloomed or fruited it’s past it prime. We even look at people that way (sadly). A fall/winter walk can inspire us in new ways and open us up to new discovery. How many kids do you think go to PS 119 and don’t notice the magnificent White Pine on the corner or the folks that don’t appreciate the “New York Allee” of Pin Oaks and London Planes near the Haviland Playground. (An allée is traditionally a straight route or avenue with a line of trees or large shrubs running along each side. In NY, pedestrians are usually outside of the allée and don’t notice trees planted on either side of the street.

    • Bronx River-Sankofa says:

      I really dig your take on my latest piece Chuck. I believe nature experience and arts help us counter the ill effects of consumerism by keeping our eyes open and our senses alive. Right on, you got the deeper meaning of my words…again!

  2. czvasser says:

    Reblogged this on Community Green and commented:

    Nature in the fall, the height of its seasonal maturity, is wonderful and Morgan shows us how to appreciate it with this article. We have a tendency to think once something has bloomed or fruited it’s past it prime. We even look at people that way (sadly). A fall/winter walk can inspire us in new ways and open us up to new discovery. How many kids do you think go to PS 119 and don’t notice the magnificent White Pine on the corner or the folks that don’t appreciate the “New York Allee” of Pin Oaks and London Planes near the Haviland Playground. (An allée is traditionally a straight route or avenue with a line of trees or large shrubs running along each side. In NY, pedestrians are usually outside of the allée and don’t notice trees planted on either side of the street.

  3. nickyj05 says:

    Great work Morgan! Love the description of colors and special features of the trees along each street. It’s funny how we learn to appreciate living things more when they are shown to us from a different perspective. Even in my neighborhood, I wonder where trees we have around the city come from and why they were put there.They didn’t just show up in these places. Each one has a story to tell, we just need to stop and listen. You inspire me!

  4. i-c says:

    Morgan’s environmental and poetic sensitivities are revealed by the time, efforts, and initiative involved in his posting. Can the trees be labelled with ID’s or numbers for the schoolchildren? Didn’t Parks125 want to do something like this along the Grand Concourse?

  5. Nilka says:

    I.C. – YES!!! GIVE is working on tree identification signs for the trees in our neighborhood! Thanks to Morgan who took the time to walk with us this year and point the different species out to us 😉

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