Written by AeLin Compton; edited by Alina Spezio

Philly is home to 6,000 acres of forested parks. These old growth forests, open meadows, woodlands, and wetlands serve as a green support system for our city. They keep our water clean, our air pure, and give us beauty and peace from the bustle of city living.

We love our forests, and we need your help to keep them green and thriving for generations.

Thus, in September 2018, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation and Fairmount Park Conservancy launched a new program, inviting volunteers to join us on the Second Saturday of every month to explore and help restore Philly’s greenest spaces.

Each month, we tackle a new project and visit a new park— from the lakes of FDR, to the woods of the Wissahickon, and many forests in between.

In the program’s first year, hundreds of volunteers joined us to:

  • Plant 149 new trees and shrubs.
  • Save 145 young trees from invasive vines and weeds.
  • Remove 2,068 lbs of trash from parks and waterways.
  • Restore 2,000+ feet of soft surface trails.
  • Remove countless invasive plants.

On October 12, volunteers will work at the Fairmount Park Horticulture Center’s “Michaux Grove” section. The grove is part of a project to restore a diverse forest on the site. Up to this point, Michaux Grove has been treated by:

  • Removing invasive trees and shrubs
  • Herbiciding
  • Seeding grasses
  • Installing a deer exclusion fence
  • Installing live stakes on the stream banks.

Volunteers at the October Second Saturdays event will plant new trees and shrubs for the grove.

Before and after of Michaux Grove
Photos of Michaux Grove before and after site preparations.

We’re doing work in our parks every month, and in every season. We hope you’ll join us! Together, we’ll plant trees, remove invasive species, clear trails, and clean waterways. We bring all the tools and guidance; you bring the energy.

Upcoming volunteer days (all are Saturdays)

  • October 12: Plant a variety of beneficial trees and shrubs at the Fairmount Park Horticulture Center, supporting a long-term forest restoration effort. The October 12 group will plant 100-150 native trees and shrubs in the “Michaux Grove” section of the Horticulture Center.
  • November 9: Love Your Park! Plant trees, collect leaves for compost, and prepare our parks for the winter season.
  • December 14: Remove invasive vines and learn how Philly is preparing our forests for a changing climate at Cobbs Creek Park.

Questions? Contact us at pprstewardship@phila.gov.

View a list of upcoming events and register to volunteer.