Apr 15, 2024 - News

PA Horticultural Society needs volunteers for tree-planting event

Illustration of a pile of dirt with a heart shaped plant sprouting from it.

Illustration: Natalie Peeples/Axios

The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society is looking for arbor-itionists.

Why it matters: The group's mission is to improve Philly's tree canopy so residents can enjoy more shade and green spaces, which advocates say has proven health benefits.

Driving the news: PHS needs volunteers to plant more than 1,100 trees in the Philadelphia region this week.

  • Volunteers are needed between Tuesday and Sunday.
  • You can sign up for whatever role best suits you. Among the tasks, volunteers will help unload, count, sort and plant trees and inspect tree bags for holes.

Volunteers are most needed in these areas: Ambler, Cheltenham, Chester and Springfield (Delco)

  • Philly: East Passyunk, Esperanza, Fairhill Graduate Hospital West, Heritage Tree Tenders (North Philly), Moyamensing and Mt. Airy

What they're saying: Experts say that spending more time around trees has several health benefits, including reducing stress and improving mental acuity.

Zoom in: Advocates estimate about 20% of the city is covered by trees, with many Philly neighborhoods where the tree coverage is as low as 2.5%.

  • U.S. Forest Service researchers say the range of attainable urban canopy coverage is 40-60% for cities in forested states. The range for grasslands and desert cities is between 20% and 15%, respectively.

By the numbers: Since starting the program more than three decades ago, PHS has trained more than 6,500 "tree tenders" who have learned the basics of caring for trees and planted more than 30,000 trees.

  • Visit its website to learn how to become a tree tender.

🧠 Be smart: Planters should bring hand sanitizer, gloves, closed-toed shoes, a water bottle and, if possible, a shovel.


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