11:18 PM / Monday January 30, 2023

6 Aug 2021

The East Passyunk Crossing Arboretum becomes first in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to achieve Level 1 arboretum accreditation

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August 6, 2021 Category: Local Posted by:

ABOVE PHOTO: East Passyunk Crossing Community Center  (Photo/PHS)

The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society supports civic group’s efforts to achieve standing.

The East Passyunk Crossing Civic Association (EPX) has been awarded a Level 1 Accreditation for the East Passyunk Crossing Arboretum by the ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program and The Morton Arboretum. The ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program is the only global initiative to officially recognize arboreta at various levels of development, capacity, and professionalism. 

The East Passyunk Crossing Arboretum is the second urban neighborhood in the United States to be accredited by ArbNet, and the first neighborhood in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to achieve this standing. The organization is also now recognized as an accredited arboretum in the Morton Register of Arboreta, a database of the world’s arboreta and gardens dedicated to woody plants. 

The East Passyunk neighborhood’s dedicated volunteer team of Tree Tenders – tree enthusiasts who are trained by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society – worked diligently to do research, plant trees, apply for, and document their work over a couple of years to secure this achievement.

“We are thrilled by the recognition from ArbNet and the Morton Arboretum designating our neighborhood as a Level 1 arboretum,” said East Passyunk Crossing Civic Association president Samantha Gross. “This accreditation furthers our efforts to increase our community’s tree canopy and acknowledges the dedication of our Tree Tenders program.”

A Level 1 arboretum accreditation requires a governance group to create an arboretum plan, choose the appropriate trees, oversee the plantings, and all the related application processes. The EPX group considered this task a labor of love, expanding on its prior work to beautify the neighborhood. EPX has been planting street trees through the Tree Tenders program of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) in cooperation with the City of Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Department for the past 10 years. PHS’s Tree Tenders program trains volunteers in tree planting, care, and maintenance, and has produced more than 5,000 Tree Tenders over the program’s lifetime.

For the EPX arboretum, tree species in the area were specifically chosen to survive and thrive as street trees, which is critical because the area has limited green space. Tree canopy cover in the neighborhood is in the range of 3%, one of the lowest in the City of Philadelphia. EPX’s goal, through the arboretum accreditation and its continued partnership with Tree Tenders, is to continue its work to increase the tree canopy cover to the City’s goal of 30% in order to reduce heat and beautify the neighborhood.

EPX sponsors two tree plantings a year where the public can participate in planting and learn about the care of trees. The arboretum collection is accessible via an interactive map on the EPX website at

“The Level 1 Arboretum Accreditation will help us increase the awareness of the benefits of trees in the urban environment, encouraging more residents to plant trees in front of their homes and businesses,” EPX Tree Tenders co-chair Bill Grubb said. “Our association with ArbNet will also facilitate evaluation of species we plant and improve planting and care practices. EPX invites all our Philadelphia Tree Tender Groups to become accredited Arboreta to promote the study and care of trees, increasing our canopy city wide.”

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