The month of April – the time of needed rainfall, baseball, and early blooms – is Plant One Million Month this year. Click here for the full calendar of events.
As you likely know, Plant One Million is an extraordinary project that encompasses 13 counties in three states and is led by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, the TreeVitalize program of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the New Jersey Tree Foundation, and the Delaware Center for Horticulture.
United as Plant One Million, the team wants to educate people about the need for trees and canopy restoration-–-and arm them with the tools to “plant, tend, count and donate.” Since launching a year ago, Plant One Million has tallied 150,000 new trees in Southeastern Pennsylvania, South Jersey, and the state of Delaware.
“This unique partnership of organizations with a shared purpose is the first multi-state tree-planting initiative in the nation,” said PHS President Drew Becher. “This spring, we are bringing our message to thousands of people, from schoolchildren and college students, to urban residents and suburban homeowners, to weekend gardeners and full-time Phillies fans. The message is: Increasing the tree coverage in the region will have a real and lasting impact on the environmental and economic health of our communities.”
Below are some highlights of the month ahead. Click here for the full calendar of events.
PHS and the Philadelphia Phillies will announce a major league victory for community greening and baseball fans on April 12 at Citizens Bank Park with the launch of “Home Runs for Trees.” For each home run hit by a Phillie this season, PHS and its partners will plant a tree in the player’s honor as part of Plant One Million. In addition, 250 free trees will be distributed by PHS on April 22 at the ballpark to fans who register at the Philllies website.
Philadelphia Parks & Recreation will get its new TreePhilly program in high gear by giving away 2,000 yard trees beginning April 21. A special kick-off event will be held in Oak Lane, and free distributions will be held in neighborhoods currently with a low percentage of tree canopy, including Tioga, Frankford, East Oak Lane, West Oak Lane, Kensington, South Philadelphia, Haddington and Morrell Park.
“In partnership with Plant One Million and in support of Mayor Michael Nutter’s Greenworks sustainability plan, our neighborhood-based tree planting campaign, TreePhilly, will hold a number of events this April to help get people excited and educated about the numerous benefits of trees for their homes and communities,” said Michael DiBerardinis, Deputy Mayor for Environmental and Community Resources/Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Commissioner. “Our data tells us that the most effective way to reach our ambitious tree planting goal for Philadelphia is to engage with communities and neighborhoods to encourage people to plant trees on their own property. Kicking off this April, TreePhilly gives us the resources and mechanisms to do just that.”
The New Jersey Tree Foundation will lead a series of volunteer opportunities through April and May to plant 100 trees and 10 rain gardens in neighborhoods throughout the city of Camden. The foundation will plant more than 150 trees in Haddon Township during its April 27 Arbor Day Celebration, and will give out 1,500 small tree whips for public lands in South Jersey.
“Planting a tree is making an investment in the future of our cities,” said Lisa Simms, NJTF Director. “These trees reduce air pollution, lower energy costs, and improve the overall quality of life for our South Jersey communities.”
The Delaware Center for Horticulture got a jump on the planting season with the help of 100 volunteers who added 78 trees at Banning Park in Wilmington in March. Arbor Day celebrations will include six tree care companies donating their time and equipment on April 25 to address tree maintenance needs along Bancroft Parkway in Wilmington. This event organized by the DCH is sponsored by PennDel ISA, the city of Wilmington, and the Delaware Forest Service. The DCH also will distribute more than 70 yard trees in Delaware City in May.
“The Delaware Center for Horticulture is engaging in a variety of exciting Plant One Million activities this April,” said Jen Bruhler, the DCH’s Director of Programs. “In addition to employing our Return-to-Work crew of ex-offenders to plant hundreds of trees throughout New Castle County, we will be coordinating three large events to commemorate Arbor Day. On April 18 we will educate 240 elementary school children about the benefits of trees and host a Tree City USA ceremony in Stapler Park. On April 14 we will give away a free tree at the Green & Healthy Expo in Newark at the University of Delaware. And on April 25 we have recruited several local tree care companies to volunteer to help us maintain some of the most stately shade trees in Wilmington.”
Engaging the Young
A goal of the Plant One Million project is to engage young people in tree care and planting activities, and there are many opportunities for them to get involved in April. The Philadelphia Public Library will host programs of stories, song and celebration of trees in partnership with PHS. Events are planned April 14 at the Ogontz and Wynnefield branches, and April 21 at the Falls of Schuylkill and Northeast Regional branches.
A new teacher’s kit on tree education has been developed this semester by PHS at Royersford Elementary School in Montgomery County, and on April 14 more than 180 trees will be distributed to the Royersford community.
The PHS Junior Flower Show will be held during the April 27 EarthFest celebration on the Temple University Ambler campus, bringing together 6,000 students from throughout the Philadelphia area for horticultural competitions, environmental education, and acres of fun. This year’s Junior Flower Show will focus on the importance of trees in protecting our water sources.
PHS, Temple University’s Offices of Sustainability and Community Relations, and Temple’s Students for Environmental Action worked together to offer the first PHS Tree Tenders training course on the campus. Participants will help green Temple and its surrounding community beginning this month.
Children and teens will learn about the value of trees at PHS displays at the Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival in Fairmount Park on April 15 and the Philadelphia Science Festival on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway on April 21.
Watershed Trees and “Talking Trees”
More than 3,400 trees will be planted in five communities in Montgomery County, Bucks County and Delaware County during the month of May. The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission and PHS will coordinate the plantings, which are funded through a grant from PennVest, an independent agency of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania that provides funding for drinking water programs, storm water management and other projects. The trees will be planted along streetscapes, in parks, near schools and other public properties in Norristown, the city of Chester, Millbourne, New Hope and Warminster.
TreeVitalize Watershed plantings will held throughout the spring, including April 27 in West Goshen and April 28 in Rosemont.
Parks, paths and other arboreal settings throughout the Greater Philadelphia Region will also be the sites of “talking trees,” which will tell passers-by how trees clean the air and water, lower energy bills, raise property values, and make us all feel better.
Tree programs will continue through the year in Philadelphia, the surrounding counties in Pennsylvania, South Jersey and Delaware as part of Plant One Million.