By Guina Hammond and Dana Dentice
On November 15, PHS along with Philadelphia Housing Authority (PAL), U.S. Forest Service staff and 20 volunteers — youth and adults from the Richard Allen Homes neighborhood, Urban Technology Project members from the School District of Philadelphia and other individuals — planted 19 yard trees in several back yards of the Richard Allen Homes in the West Poplar neighborhood in Lower North Philadelphia.
The trees that were planted included maple, gingko, honeylocust, London plane tree, oak, elm and Japanese tree lilac. These trees will provide increasing shade, beauty and energy savings to the residents as they grow.
The young people had fun planting and naming the trees and are eager to begin caring for them. Young members from the Urban Technology Project enjoyed their first tree-planting experience and are interested in getting their schools involved in tree planting as the regional Plant One Million program nears its 500,000th tree.
The Richard Allen Homes tree planting project was inspired by the success of the tree planting activities that took place last year in the Mill Creek community, a low- and moderate-income community that includes redeveloped PHA housing. The success of engaging residents, business owners, schools, churches, PHA leaders and PHA Resident Advisory Leaders in planting 150 trees throughout the Mill Creek neighborhood inspired PHS to continue its work in the PHA housing development sites of the Lucien Blackwell Homes in Mill Creek and the Richard Allen Homes in North Philadelphia.
Throughout these communities the tree canopy is very low and the health of the residents is compromised. Many residents in these communities want trees to help improve their health and well-being as well as to beautify their community. Therefore, it has been a great partnership for PHS and PHA to work together to plant trees and teach the residents about the many health benefits trees provide.
Additional residents in the Richard Allen Homes have expressed an interest in getting a tree for their property next spring and PHS is eager to continue work throughout the community. Residents will be invited to participate in the Tree Tenders program as well as Garden Tenders training, too.
PHS thanks the following funders for helping to make this work possible: the Boeing Company, the Austelle Foundation, DCNR’s TreeVitalize program, and an anonymous donor.