PHILADELPHIA, PA — Philadelphia Parks & Recreation (PPR) and Fairmount Park Conservancy (FPC) announced that they will offer up to 1,000 Philadelphia residents the opportunity to receive a free tree to plant at home this fall through the TreePhilly program, a partnership between PPR and FPC sponsored by TD Bank.
To support tree equity among Philadelphia neighborhoods, TreePhilly is partnering with 27 community organizations around the city to deliver trees and host 11 no-contact pickup events intended for residents of areas most in need of tree planting. Trees will also be available at one city-wide pickup event, and through a door-to-door delivery service for residents in high-risk populations and those unable to pick up their tree in a car.
“Trees make our Philadelphia communities healthier, safer, and more resilient to the devastating effects of climate change,” said Parks & Recreation Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell. “This year, more than ever, we are proud to be able to offer Philadelphia residents the opportunity to be a part of this transformation in their own backyards.”
TreePhilly has given away over 25,000 trees in partnership with neighborhood organizations since 2012. TreePhilly is made possible thanks to sponsorship from TD Bank.
“We are honored to play a role in positively impacting the health of the environment and city residents through our partnership with the Fairmount Park Conservancy and Philadelphia Parks & Recreation to support the expansion of TreePhilly,” said Michael Carbone, Regional President, TD Bank. “The TreePhilly program provides positive environmental and social impacts that align with the TD Ready Commitment. TD supports this initiative that is enriching lives and stimulating businesses by elevating the quality of the environment through expanding the tree canopy and enabling Philadelphians to become more deeply connected to their communities. Improving urban park systems and green spaces in the U.S is more important now than ever as families and individuals seek out safe outdoor spaces during the pandemic.”
During the pandemic, TreePhilly adapted to protect against the spread of COVID-19, by putting in place strict social distancing requirements for pick-up events and providing vulnerable residents the option of having trees delivered directly to their homes. These offerings brought joy to hundreds of Philadelphians in challenging times and will continue into the fall 2021 tree giveaway season in order to protect against the further spread of the Delta variant of the virus.
“Trees are essential to our livelihood—that has never been more clear than now,” said Fairmount Park Conservancy Director Maura McCarthy, Ph.D. “Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, tree-lined streets and parks have become a lifeline for so many of us. Trees and the fresh air that they provide help ease the isolation of quarantine and provide opportunities for connection. We are proud to support TreePhilly’s efforts to ensure the growth of our urban forest and a healthier Philadelphia.”
The goal of the TreePhilly program is to support the establishment and maintenance of a healthy tree canopy in every Philadelphia neighborhood, with a focus on environmental justice and equity. Through its Community Yard Tree Giveaway, TreePhilly builds partnerships with community-based organizations in neighborhoods with low levels of tree canopy, higher risk to environmental health hazards and high rates of tree canopy loss. Partner organizations promote and support the yard tree planting program among their neighbors and community members and receive a grant for their participation. This season, TreePhilly will distribute grants to 27 community partners around the city and work with them to provide local pick-up sites and tree delivery in areas of low tree canopy. Registration for each neighborhood event will be limited to the residents of each local partner’s target community. TreePhilly will also host one pick-up event with unrestricted citywide registration for 200 trees.
This fall, TreePhilly will deepen its relationship to long-time partners such as Nueva Esperanza in Hunting Park and the Eastwick Friends and Neighbors in Southwest Philadelphia, and welcome new collaborators like the Memphis Academy Charter School in Port Richmond and The Simple Way in Kensington. Through these collaborations, the program is working to build and maintain tree canopy in some of the areas hardest hit by the effects of climate change this summer. In addition to providing grants and trees, TreePhilly works to learn from partners about their goals for community greening and wellness and strives to connect them with the resources needed to meet those visions.
“I am always excited to partner with TreePhilly. When I think about TreePhilly, I smile because I am impressed and inspired by these people of nature who love and nurture the environment with trees. TreePhilly has become a staple in the Eastwick/Southwest communities,” said Ramona Rousseau-Reid, Vice President for the Eastwick Friends and Neighbors Coalition. “I am grateful and show my appreciation by participating in the tree giveaway events. I am empowered by their teachings and share my sentiment with my neighbors by asking, ‘Have you ever just sat down in a quiet place, perhaps a park or green space, and felt calm and peaceful as you notice the wonder of trees?’”
Registration for trees opens on September 22 at TreePhilly.org. The citywide pick-up event takes place on October 23, while deliveries and neighborhood events will take place throughout the fall. Trees are available while supplies last and pre-registration is required (there will be no trees available for walk-ins). Trees must be planted in the ground on private property in the city of Philadelphia. Delivery is reserved for residents in high-risk populations and those unable to pick up a tree in their car. Tree species offered are selected to meet resident needs and desires and withstand the changing climate. Highlights of the fall selection include a native tropical-tasting fruit tree called the PawPaw and urban-tolerant shade trees like the Black Gum and Sassafras, which provide beautiful fall color.
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