NEW YORK, Nov. 12 (UPI) -- A New York City Council member is proposing the city's trees get their own email addresses as a means of "deepening public engagement with trees."
Mark Levine, who represents District 7 on the Upper West Side, is proposing 200 trees in the city receive their own individual email addresses, which would be listed on signs posted "on or near" the trees.
A spokesman said the email addresses would be for more than just reporting maintenance issues.
"This is not meant to serve as a maintenance hotline so much as a mechanism for deepening public engagement with the trees," spokesman Tyrone Stevens told Gothamist.
However, Stevens said the emails would also be useful to report "issues" such as blight and rot. "NYC is a tough place to be a tree," Levine, chairman of the Committee on Parks, told Gothamist. "By giving each tree a unique email address, it makes it really easy to report problems."
Levine, who said picking a favorite tree would be like "asking me to pick my favorite child," said the 200 trees would be selected from the city's some-5.2 million by looking at their "uncommonness," including factors such as size, age and historical interest.
The "tree-mail" scheme was inspired by a similar project in Melbourne, Australia.
Councilor Arron Wood, chairman of Melbourne's Environment Portfolio, told The Atlantic the email addresses were meant as a means for people to report dangerous branches and other problems, but love letters and other fan mail was an "unintended but positive consequence."
"The email interactions reveal the love Melburnians have for our trees," he said.
Wood shared some of the emails with The Atlantic.
"Dear Green Leaf Elm,
I hope you like living at St. Mary's. Most of the time I like it too. I have exams coming up and I should be busy studying. You do not have exams because you are a tree. I don't think that there is much more to talk about as we don't have a lot in common, you being a tree and such. But I'm glad we're in this together.
The email was one of several to receive replies from officials writing from the perspective of the trees:
I do like living here.
I hope you do well in your exams. Research has shown that nature can influence the way people learn in a positive way, so I hope I inspire your learning.
Green Leaf Elm, Tree ID 1022165"