Center City: Going Green with TreePhilly

It’s not always easy being green, but TreePhilly works to bring this color back into “The City of Arborly Love.”

10154615_875651019128598_1022763352_nThis organization is part of the Greenworks Philadelphia plan. TreePhilly and its events are partnered with the Fairmount Park Conservancy and are sponsored by Wells Fargo.

With the main goal of increasing Philadelphia’s tree canopy cover to 30 percent citywide, TreePhilly hosts a series of tree giveaways each year that provide residents with not only a tree, but with the resources and knowledge to properly maintain it so it can thrive.

“We try to give [residents] everything that they need to take the tree home and give it a good life,” said Erica Smith Fichman, TreePhilly’s program manager. “[We want to make sure] that we’re actually getting these trees in the ground and growing and contributing to the urban canopy.”

10248782_875651029128597_277289070_nActive volunteer and current employee Lindsey Walker sees these educational resources as vital components for a sustainable environment. “[TreePhilly is about] educating people about the benefits of trees, why we need them [and] giving them the resources to care for them,” explained Walker. “[We are a] resource for people all over the city to plant trees both in their yards and in the sidewalk.”

Aside from the tree giveaways, TreePhilly also works with community groups to do street tree plantings that are coordinated through their street tree contract management division.

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Participants wait in line for a free tree

Fichman also recognizes the various benefits trees provide for the city.

“TreePhilly is all about planting more trees that contribute to filtering the air and capturing stormwater before it can become a problem,” she said.

Fichman cites increases in air quality, natural shade and energy savings as positive results from planting trees throughout the city.

Through this, TreePhilly gets back to the roots of what it means to “go green.”

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– Text, images and video by Caitlin Cowan