Free trees available to city residents

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Want to help make Philadelphia greener? Now’s your chance to dig in.

Philadelphia Parks & Recreation (PPR) and Fairmount Park Conservancy (FPC) will once again offer Philadelphia residents the opportunity to receive a free tree to plant at home this fall through the city’s TreePhilly program.

“Trees make our Philadelphia communities healthier, safer, and more resilient to the devastating effects of climate change,” said Parks & Recreation Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell in a statement. “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.”

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 citywide pickup event.

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.

“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.”

TreePhilly has given away over 25,000 trees in partnership with neighborhood organizations since 2012. The goal of the program is to support 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.

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.

“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 Sept. 22. The citywide pick-up event takes place on Oct. 23, while deliveries and neighborhood events will take place throughout the fall. Trees are available while supplies last and pre-registration is required. 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. For more information or to register, visit TreePhilly.org

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