ABOVE PHOTO: Volunteers plant a tree at one of the semi-annual PHS Tree Tenders events. (Photo/ Pennsylvania Horticultural Society)
The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, along with help from more than 80 of its PHS Tree Tenders groups, community organizations, and neighborhood volunteers, will celebrate Earth Day by planting trees throughout the Greater Philadelphia region from April 19 – 24. This spring season will be the largest volunteer tree planting that PHS has ever coordinated with over 1,500 trees planted over a span of 5 days.
Through this semi-annual initiative, PHS creates and enhances tree canopy in neighborhoods across the Philadelphia region to promote healthier, greener communities. Interested volunteers can sign up to help plant trees by visiting: https://phsonline.org/tree.
PHS Tree Tenders is a core component of PHS’s mission to create healthy living environments and build social connections. The Tree Tenders semi-annual training program offers low-cost education in tree planting and care to individuals and volunteer community groups, primarily in the Philadelphia region as well as worldwide via online training sessions.
PHS has trained nearly 6,000 volunteers who have gone on to form community groups that rally neighbors to come together to plant and care for trees. During PHS’s 2021 tree planting events, volunteers planted 2,300 trees. Since its fruition, PHS Tree Tenders groups have planted over 25,000 trees in neighborhoods across the Greater Philadelphia region.
Studies have linked increased tree canopy (the area of land shaded by trees) to lower rates of violence and better health outcomes, including a reduction in heat-related illness.
The US Forest Service estimates that achieving 30% tree canopy would prevent 400 premature deaths per year in Philadelphia. With this statistic in mind, the Greater Philadelphia region still needs more trees.
According to a study conducted in 2018 by The City of Philadelphia and the University of Vermont Spatial Analysis Lab, the city’s tree canopy declined by 6% from 2008-2018, averaging only 20% tree canopy, with some Philadelphia neighborhoods having as little as 2.5% tree canopy.
Throughout the year, PHS plants and cares for trees and works towards the goal of a healthier urban forest, especially for neighborhoods with low canopy coverage and high average temperatures.
Interested volunteers do not need experience and are encouraged to find an event in their area and contribute to the tree planting process, which typically lasts about 2-3 hours at the assigned site. Volunteers will also be asked to show proof of vaccination for COVID-19 before registering.
A PHS Tree Tenders group leader will be assigned to all planting locations to educate and support the assigned volunteers. Everyone is asked to bring hand sanitizer, gloves, close-toed shoes, a shovel if they have one, and a water bottle. Supplies for plantings will be available onsite, including shovels, pickaxes, brooms, trash bags, and more. Participants are also asked to dress for the weather as plantings will happen rain or shine.
To learn more about volunteering for this event, please visit: https://phsonline.org/tree.
1. Enter your first and last name and email at the link above to access the Map of Spring 2022 Tree Tenders Planting Events.
2. Find a location that still needs volunteers by clicking the GREEN location pins on the map. Note: some locations have already met the required number of volunteers.
3. Register to volunteer via the link in the pop-up.
4. Review the location, date, and time of the event.
5. Click “Sign Up” and follow the directions on how to register.
You can also support PHS’s tree planting programs by donating to the 2022 “More Trees Please” campaign. Each spring and fall, PHS works with volunteers across the Greater Philadelphia region to plant trees at little or no cost to residents. Gifts in support of “More Trees Please” provide critical funding that supplies the trees, tools, and resources needed to make these plantings possible. Learn more at www.PHSonline.org/patrees.
COVID-19 safety policy
Effective October 2021, PHS requires that all volunteers eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine to be fully vaccinated. Boosters are not required at this time. If this requirement represents a significant barrier to your group or you have questions or concerns about the policy, or would like to request an accommodation, please contact Rachel Cieri at: [email protected].
In line with the City of Philadelphia, PHS will abide by current health guidelines for its tree plantings. Up-to-date guidance is available at: https://www.phila.gov/programs/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19/.