More trees, please.
That’s the goal of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society as the organization teams up with local groups and volunteers to help create healthier and greener neighborhoods throughout Philadelphia and beyond.
PHS will collaborate with more than 80 Tree Tenders groups as well as community organizations and neighborhood volunteers to plant over 1,350 trees throughout the city and Southeastern Pennsylvania from Nov. 17-21. Through this semi-annual initiative, PHS aims to create and enhance tree canopy, which is the area of land shaded by trees.
Studies have linked increased tree canopy to lower rates of violence and better health outcomes, including reduction in heat-related illness. The U.S. Forest Service researchers estimate that achieving 30% tree canopy would prevent 400 premature deaths per year in Philadelphia. According to a study conducted in 2018 by The City of Philadelphia and University of Vermont Spatial Analysis Lab, the region’s tree canopy declined by 6% from 2008-2018, averaging only 20% tree canopy, and 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 Philadelphia neighborhoods with low canopy coverage. During the organization’s November 2020 and April 2021 tree planting events, volunteers planted more than 2,000 trees. Since its fruition, PHS Tree Tenders groups have planted over 25,000 trees in neighborhoods across the region.
Interested volunteers are encouraged to find an event in their area. No prior gardening or tree planting experience is required. Volunteers will also be asked to show proof of vaccination for COVID-19 before registering. Everyone is asked to bring a mask and 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.
Interested volunteers can sign up online at PHSonline.org/programs/tree-pr