Philadelphia Parks & Recreation manages over 5,600 acres of natural lands. These include lush forests, colorful meadows, and shady creeks.  In recent years these spaces have faced threats from invasive species including:

Now, our forests are getting help from a new and skilled volunteer force: Philly Forest Stewards. Parks & Rec launched the program this summer. The goal is to engage long-term volunteers to adopt sections of our natural lands. The stewards:

  • Gain forest management experience.
  • Explore a variety of Parks & Rec sites around the city.
  • Help Parks & Rec staff:
  • Save young trees from invasive vines and weeds.
  • Watch restoration sites
  • Keep areas clean, green, and thriving.

This summer’s pilot program grew out of Parks & Rec’s monthly Second Saturdays. These events helped acquaint volunteers with the work required to improve our forests. As a Forest Steward, volunteers can make a long-term commitment to continue this work.

Andrew Conboy started as a Second Saturday volunteer in 2019. He enjoys the events because they bring together a diverse group of volunteers. “It’s always amazing to see how much we all accomplish in just the few hours that we’re there,” he observed.

Recently Andrew was asked to become a Forest Steward. He enjoys the chance to improve Philadelphia’s urban forests by adding native plants. He’s also learning a lot. “It is fulfilling to contribute to the betterment of our urban forests,” he said. “Forests provide countless benefits and ultimately make people happy.”

If you see someone with a shiny green vest in the woods, that’s likely one of our stewards. Please say hello and thank them for helping preserve our much-loved forests!

The path to becoming a Forest Steward begins with volunteering at a Second Saturday!