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Thaiyeba Jalil


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College


Science, Social Studies, Earth and Space Sciences, Health

Resource Types

  • Article
  • Interactive Media
  • Data

Regional Focus

North America, United States, USA - Northeast, New York, New York City



Harnessing the Power of Tree Canopy in NYC

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  • This article explores the distribution of tree canopy throughout New York City, the importance of tree canopy in an urban forest, and local efforts to increase the amount of tree canopy within the city.
  • Students will learn that tree canopy is scarce in New York City's low-income neighborhoods, tree canopy can provide shade during the hot summer months, and community activism has led to legislation that will equitably increase canopy in NYC.
Teaching Tips


  • This article recognizes that communities of color tend to have less canopy than white neighborhoods.
  • There is a helpful illustration that displays the benefits of tree canopy.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students can obtain detailed tree canopy data if they click the article's interactive map.
  • It may be helpful if students already understand environmental racism and the urban heat island effect.


  • This article can fit within a larger unit on the ecological importance of trees and trees' ability to fight climate change.
  • To assess prior knowledge, the teacher can ask the class questions about tree canopy before reading the article.
  • This article can enhance a classroom discussion on the connection between health outcomes and socioeconomic status.
  • This article can support a classroom discussion on the NYC government's effectiveness in combating climate change.
Scientist Notes
This article explains how and why tree canopies are beneficial in cities, specifically NYC, and how they aid in cooling the area. The article also discusses the unequal distribution of these tree canopies. These explanations also touch on climate change and climate justice and their relation to tree canopies and urban forests. The information presented is accurate, and this resource is recommended for teaching.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
      • HS-LS2-7 Design, evaluate, and refine a solution for reducing the impacts of human activities on the environment and biodiversity.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: Civics
      • D2.Civ.5.9-12 Evaluate citizens' and institutions' effectiveness in addressing social and political problems at the local, state, tribal, national, and/or international level.
    • Dimension 2: Geography
      • D2.Geo.3.9-12 Use geographic data to analyze variations in the spatial patterns of cultural and environmental characteristics at multiple scales.
      • D2.Geo.6.9-12 Evaluate the impact of human settlement activities on the environmental and cultural characteristics of specific places and regions.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Reading: Informational Text (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.11-12.2 Determine two or more central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to provide a complex analysis; provide an objective summary of the text.
  • National Health Education Standards
    • Standard 1: Students will comprehend concepts related to health promotion and disease prevention to enhance health.
      • 1.12.3 Analyze how environment and personal health are interrelated.
  • Related Resources


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