ABOVE PHOTO: (Photo/Pennsylvania Horticultural Society)
From November 20 through 22, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) will work with over 70 of its Tree Tenders groups and community organizations in addition to hundreds of neighborhood volunteers to come together and plant over 1,000 trees in neighborhoods throughout Philadelphia and Southeastern Pennsylvania. This semi-annual initiative helps to increase the region’s tree canopy and promote healthier, greener neighborhoods.
A key component of PHS’s neighborhood greening activities, the PHS Tree Tenders offer tree planting education and tree care training throughout the year in the five-county Philadelphia region. Participation in the Tree Tenders course and in plantings brings neighbors together while creating healthier, more sustainable living spaces for communities. PHS has trained more than 5,000 people to become Tree Tenders, who have gone on to lead volunteers in planting over 1,300 trees each year.
Yet, the Greater Philadelphia region still needs more trees. While a “good” tree canopy coverage (the area of land shaded by trees) is considered to be 30% of land area, the City of Philadelphia only has 20% coverage and as little as 2.5% in some neighborhoods. PHS is committed to increasing the tree canopy, especially in neighborhoods with few trees and high average temperatures. Throughout the year, PHS works with more than 100 volunteer Tree Tender groups to plant and care for trees in the Philadelphia region.
Interested volunteers are encouraged to find a local event in their region and participate in a tree planting, which typically lasts about 2-3 hours on location. No experience is required but everyone is asked to bring a mask, hand sanitizer, gloves, close-toed shoes, a shovel if you 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 regardless of weather.
The safety of our PHS volunteers, Tree Tenders leaders, and staff is always our top priority. Despite the challenges our communities face during the COVID-19 pandemic, we can carry out our fall tree plantings by minimizing the risks for everyone involved. Our best practices for safety include:
• Follow all standard pandemic precautions: Masks, social distancing, and frequent use of hand sanitizer.
• Minimize the number of people gathered in one space as well the time they’re gathered there.
• Keep as much activity as possible outdoors.
• Ask participants to stay home if they have symptoms or have had exposure to someone who does or has been diagnosed.
Many organizations help advance PHS’s work to create healthy living environments and build deeper social connections in the city and region. Major support for PHS Tree Tenders programs, PHS Tree Tenders plantings, and the PHS effort to restore the area’s tree canopy is made possible by PECO.
Additional sponsors include: AQUA Pennsylvania, Bartlett Tree Experts, the HBE Foundation, Penn Treaty Special Services District, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Pennsylvania Urban and Community Forestry Council, Philadelphia Collaborative for Health Equity, Philadelphia Division of Housing and Community Development, and the Philadelphia Phillies.
To learn more about volunteering for this event, please visit: https://phsonline.org/programs/tree-programs/get-involved.