Approximately 5.5 million people ride the New York City subway everyday making subway cars prime real estate for advertising and public service announcements. I created two subway posters about the benefits of street trees and the volunteer tree stewardship program with NYC Parks: The square poster appeals to a numbers-minded ridership with facts and figures while the banner-style poster aims to attract the interest of a more general audience with colorful and inclusive visuals. I was interested in sharing this opportunity to be a volunteer tree steward with NYC parks because besides helping the trees, volunteering can support the wellbeing of individuals as well as foster a sense of community –– with neighbors and with the organisms that grow in the midst of New York’s metropolitan bustle.
To be sure, effective green infrastructure is more complex than simply planting more trees as trees have ecosystem disservices as well: roots can interfere with sewer pipes, tree pollen can exacerbate allergies, and branches can fall over in storms. But even if no one ends up volunteering to water trees or weed tree pits, subway announcements can still bring awareness of and appreciation for city trees to show how the urban environment is not just buildings and people but a multidimensional ecosystem.