“Planting trees is political,” Katie Holten told Hyperallergic. And soon, plantings in New York City may spell out messages of resistance, love, or other expressions from the local community. In dialogue with the NYC Parks Department, the Irish-born, New York-based artist designed the New York City Tree Alphabet. Ranging from the elm with its twisting branches for “E,” to the cone-shaped umbrella pine for “U,” each letter of the Latin alphabet is used to highlight one of the city’s native or non-native trees. The selections also represent how the urban forest is transforming due to environmental changes.
“In a sense, the entire A to Z itself is a reflection of climate change,” Holten said. “I wouldn’t have felt compelled to make [the New York City Tree Alphabet] if everything was hunky dory. A large part of the project is the simple fact that it’s a fun, accessible way for people to learn about New York City trees and see how natives, non-natives, and other species new to New York City are all being planted together.”
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