PHILADELPHIA – Philadelphia Parks & Recreation (PPR) announced today that it will offer up to 1,000 Philadelphia residents the opportunity to receive a free tree to plant at home this spring through the TreePhilly program, a partnership with Fairmount Park Conservancy sponsored by TD Bank. TreePhilly is partnering with 28 community organizations around the city to deliver trees and host 13 no-contact pickup events intended for residents of neighborhoods most in need of tree planting.
Trees will also be available at a city-wide pickup event. A door-to-door delivery service is also available for residents in high-risk populations and those unable to pick up a tree in a car.
“Trees are the lungs of our city,” said Parks & Recreation Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell. “They help keep Philadelphians healthier, and make our neighborhoods stronger and more beautiful. This year, more than ever, we are excited to be able to offer 1,000 residents free yard trees that will beautify their homes while contributing to a healthier, more sustainable environment for all.”
TreePhilly has given away over 25,000 trees in partnership with Fairmount Park Conservancy and neighborhood organizations since 2012. Last year, TreePhilly remained active during COVID-19 and distributed more than 1,200 trees to homeowners with strict adherence to social distancing guidelines in order to protect against the spread of COVID-19.
TreePhilly partners with community organizations around the city through its Community Yard Tree Giveaway Program to ensure that free yard trees go to areas that need them most. Partner organizations promote and support the yard tree planting program among their neighbors and receive a grant for their participation. This season, TreePhilly will distribute grants to 28 community partners around the city and work with them to provide local pick-up sites and tree delivery in areas of low tree canopy.
“Planting a tree is not only a great way for Philadelphians to get outdoors, but it’s also part of improving the long-term public health of our communities,” said Fairmount Park Conservancy Executive Director Maura McCarthy, Ph.D. “Trees provide essential services for city residents—they lower stress levels, improve our respiratory health, and cool our homes on hot summer days.”
The goal of the TreePhilly program is to support every Philadelphia neighborhood in establishing a healthy canopy of trees. The program, established in response to goals set by the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability in 2009, works to empower residents to turn their yards into homes for trees—an essential part of public health in Philadelphia neighborhoods. A study in the Lancet Journal from April 2020 shows that an improved tree canopy in Philadelphia could save hundreds of city residents per year from premature death.
Tree pickup events and deliveries will be executed with strict adherence to social distancing guidelines in order to protect against the spread of COVID-19. Pickups will take place at scheduled times in strictly limited numbers, staff will practice social distancing, and residents will load trees into their own cars. In 2020, TreePhilly successfully piloted these models for safely distributing trees after postponing its spring season of the Community Yard Tree Giveaway Program. This season represents an expansion of that pilot and the program’s commitment to neighborhood equity through its community partnerships.
“We are honored to play a role in positively impacting the health of the environment and city residents through our partnership with the Fairmount Park Conservancy and Philadelphia Parks & Recreation to support the expansion of TreePhilly,” said Michael Carbone, Regional President, TD Bank. “The TreePhilly program provides positive environmental and social impacts that align with the TD Ready Commitment. TD supports this initiative that is enriching lives and stimulating businesses by elevating the quality of the environment through expanding the tree canopy and enabling Philadelphians to become more deeply connected to their communities. Improving urban park systems and green spaces in the U.S is more important now than ever as families and individuals seek out safe outdoor spaces during the pandemic.”
Registration for trees opens March 18 at TreePhilly.org. The citywide pick-up event will take place on May 15 at FDR Park, while deliveries and neighborhood events will take place throughout the spring. Trees are available while supplies last and pre-registration is required (there will be no trees available for walk-ins). Trees must be planted in the ground on private property in the city of Philadelphia. Delivery is reserved for residents in high-risk populations and those unable to pick up a tree in their car.
Philadelphia Parks & Recreation (PPR) advances the prosperity of the city and the progress of her people through intentional and sustained stewardship of nearly 10,200 acres of public land and waterways as well as through hundreds of safe, stimulating recreation, environmental and cultural centers. PPR promotes the well-being and growth of the city’s residents by connecting them to the natural world around them, to each other and to fun, physical and social opportunities. PPR is responsible for the upkeep of historically significant Philadelphia events and specialty venues, and works collaboratively with communities and organizations in leading capital projects and the introduction of inventive programming. To learn more about Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, visit us at www.phila.gov/parksandrec, and follow @philaparkandrec on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Fairmount Park Conservancy exists to champion Philadelphia’s parks. We lead capital projects and historic preservation efforts, foster neighborhood park stewardship, attract and leverage investments, and develop innovative programs throughout the 10,200 acres that include Fairmount Park and more than 100 neighborhood parks around the city. For more information, please visit myphillypark.org, join us at facebook.com/fairmountparkconservancy, and follow us on Instagram and Twitter @myphillypark.