Spring is finally here, and once again Philadelphians can help our City of Arborly Love flourish.
Philadelphia Parks & Recreation recently announced that it will offer up to 1,000 Philadelphia residents the opportunity to receive a free tree to plant at home this spring through the TreePhilly program, a partnership with Fairmount Park Conservancy sponsored by TD Bank. TreePhilly is partnering with 28 community organizations around the city to deliver trees and host 13 no-contact pickup events intended for residents of neighborhoods most in need of tree planting.
Trees will also be available at a citywide pickup event. A door-to-door delivery service is also available for residents in high-risk populations and those unable to pick up a tree in a car.
“Trees are the lungs of our city,” said Parks & Recreation Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell. “They help keep Philadelphians healthier, and make our neighborhoods stronger and more beautiful. This year, more than ever, we are excited to be able to offer 1,000 residents free yard trees that will beautify their homes while contributing to a healthier, more sustainable environment for all.”
TreePhilly has given away over 25,000 trees in partnership with Fairmount Park Conservancy and neighborhood organizations since 2012. Last year, TreePhilly remained active during COVID-19 and distributed more than 1,200 trees to homeowners with strict adherence to social distancing guidelines in order to protect against the spread of COVID-19.
TreePhilly partners with community organizations around the city through its Community Yard Tree Giveaway Program to ensure that free yard trees go to areas that need them most. Partner organizations promote and support the yard tree planting program among their neighbors and receive a grant for their participation. This season, TreePhilly will distribute grants to 28 community partners around the city and work with them to provide local pick-up sites and tree delivery in areas of low tree canopy.
“Planting a tree is not only a great way for Philadelphians to get outdoors, but it’s also part of improving the long-term public health of our communities,” said Fairmount Park Conservancy Executive Director Maura McCarthy, Ph.D. “Trees provide essential services for city residents—they lower stress levels, improve our respiratory health, and cool our homes on hot summer days.”
The goal of the TreePhilly program is to support every Philadelphia neighborhood in establishing a healthy canopy of trees. The program, established in response to goals set by the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability in 2009, works to empower residents to turn their yards into homes for trees—an essential part of public health in Philadelphia neighborhoods. A study in the Lancet Journal from April 2020 shows that an improved tree canopy in Philadelphia could save hundreds of city residents per year from premature death.
Tree pickup events and deliveries will be held with adherence to social distancing guidelines. Pickups will take place at scheduled times in strictly limited numbers, staff will practice social distancing, and residents will load trees into their own cars. Registration for trees is now open at TreePhilly.org. The citywide pick-up event will take place on May 15 at FDR Park, while deliveries and neighborhood events will take place throughout the spring. 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.