Philly nonprofits to host major tree-planting project this weekend

Riverfront North Partnership

Philly may bleed green for the Eagles, but local organizations are now painting the city green in a new way.

Earlier this month, the start of a major tree-planting project coordinated by Riverfront North Partnership (RNP) and Tookany/Tacony-Frankford (TTF) Watershed Partnership supported by the Arbor Day Foundation kicked off. As the world’s largest nonprofit tree-planting organization, Arbor Day linked up with the two nonprofits to plant 200 trees along the Pennypack Creek. The project was in full swing last weekend and will continue into this Saturday, Oct. 23.

Riverfront North Partnership

As the release states, these planting projects and distribution events aim to help the city reduce its urban heat island effect, naturally prevent pollution, increase its riparian forest canopy, sequester atmospheric carbon and challenge residents to examine their role in climate change. Both RNP and TTF Watershed Partnership engage volunteers in environmental stewardship and partner with community groups and other nonprofit partners to continue restoring neglected landscapes into useable community spaces.

“We’re dedicated to improving the health of our waterways and of our constituents, and increasing tree canopy is key to this goal,” said Julie Slavet, executive director of TTF Watershed Partnership in a statement. “By partnering with Riverfront North Partnership and with the support of the Arbor Day Foundation and Bank of America, we’re able to get this work done in neighborhoods most impacted by low tree canopy.”

Urban heat islands and pollution are at the top of the list for concerns for this project, and with that in mind, 100 of the 350 trees will be distributed to Holmesburg and Frankford communities because of those exact issues. The rest have been and will continue to be planted at Pennypack on the Delaware, Tacony Creek Park and Ferko Playground to continue restoring their riparian forests. The release also stated another effect of this green gift to different communities—a riparian buffer. The buffer will help prevent city rainwater runoff from entering the Delaware River that otherwise causes erosion, flooding and water pollution. The buffer will create healthier creeks and cleaner water for native wildlife and 60 percent of Philadelphians who rely on the river as their primary source of drinking water.

Riverfront North Partnership

“It is inspiring to see Philadelphia enrich their green spaces and neighborhoods with trees that play an important part in a greener future,” added Dan Lambe, president of the Arbor Day Foundation in a statement. “The city’s goal to have at least 30% tree canopy cover in each of its neighborhoods by 2025 is commendable, and we are pleased to support them in their efforts.”

For the volunteers who help plant as well, the effects are immediate as studies show that being out in the sun, nature and by doing good, moods are improved and there’s a reduction of  health and depressive symptoms while experiencing positive physical activities.

Bottom line: Do good and you’ll feel good.

“We are welcoming people who have long been disconnected from their river parks, or who may not have the resources to green their own homes, into a conversation about how our neighborhoods can benefit from increased tree canopy,” finished Stephanie Phillips, executive director of Riverfront North Partnership in a statement. “We can only do this through the power of civic and community partnerships and we are so grateful for this support.”

Riverfront North Partnership

For those who wish to participate this Saturday, they can head to Pennypack Park at 9 a.m. (event runs until noon) and can enter the park near the intersection of Rhawn Street and State Road. Follow the park access road for about ¼ of a mile past Riverview Homes and park near the pavilion at the soccer fields, then follow the Riverfront North event signage.

Many of these community tree recovery plantings are made possible through private and corporate donations to improve and recover entire communities through trees, the release states. Arbor Day Foundation is in partnership with Bank of America who was the driving force behind these efforts through its Community Resilience Grant Program.

To learn more about the Arbor Day Foundation and its tree recovery and grant programs, visit arborday.org


Metro is one of more than 20 news organizations producing Broke in Philly, a collaborative reporting project on economic mobility. Read more at brokeinphilly.org or follow on Twitter at @BrokeInPhilly

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