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Richard Allen Homes Get Shade Trees

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Youth from Richard Allen Homes and the Urban Technology Project joined forces to plant 19 yard trees.

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.

second richard allen tree planting photo for blog 11 25The 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.



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Getting Down and Dirty with 1,200 Trees

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The SOSNA Green Tree Tenders group planted five street trees in Philadelphia on November 15. A total of 1,500 trees were planted by PHS Tree Tenders and volunteers in Southeastern Pa. Photo by SOSNA Green.

By Dana Dentice and Emma Melvin

We teamed up with our Tree Tenders partners over the last two weeks to distribute and plant 600 trees in Philadelphia and another 600 trees in Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery Counties. These 1,200 bare root trees were planted along streets, as well as in yards, parks and school campuses as part of the Plant One Million campaign.

We’d like to give a big thank-you to all the volunteers, individuals, and funders who helped make this possible. We couldn’t have done this without your dedication, energy and love for trees. Whether you delivered or planted a tree, coordinated a tree planting event, or applied for a tree(s), your effort is much appreciated! We also thank our funders, the Boeing Company, the Austelle Foundation, DCNR’s TreeVitalize program, and an anonymous donor.

We had more than 30 Philadelphia Tree Tenders groups from neighborhoods all over the city getting down and dirty planting trees with and for their neighbors. Many were greening their neighborhood streets by planting city-approved trees in existing and newly cut tree pits. PHS also partnered with the Philadelphia Housing Authority, its residents, and the Urban Technology Project to plant 19 trees in the once shadeless backyards of Richard Allen Homes residents.

Bensalem tree planting 11 25Another 30 Tree Tenders groups planted trees in the counties outside of Philadelphia, including 100 trees planted at schools in Bucks and Montgomery Counties. On November 13, students from Cecelia Snyder and Shafer Middle Schools in Bensalem and the Phillie Phanatic came out to celebrate the Home Runs for Trees program, a partnership of the Phillies, Aramark and PHS, by planting a tree for every home run the players made in 2014. They planted 50 trees with us on the two school campuses to provide shade, beauty and improve the air quality around the schools for students and pedestrians. Watch the video.

PHS also partnered with Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) to restore the urban tree canopy on the school’s campus. With the help from professors, students and MCCC grounds staff, 50 trees were planted along roads and walkways within the campus on November 14. Volunteers conquered cold temperatures and wet soils to get the job done. PHS staff trained volunteers on proper planting techniques and assisted volunteers during planting to ensure the bare root trees will survive the winter and provide shade, stormwater reduction and beauty for years to come.

MCCC tree planting 11 25All trees were purchased as bare root stock from our good friends at Schichtel’s Nursery Inc. in Springville, New York. We love bare root trees for their light weight, lower cost, and more dense and intact root systems.

We can’t wait to see these 1,200 new trees leaf out next spring and hopefully grow to their full potential. Over the years, they will add to the region’s tree canopy and the many benefits that our urban forest provides our communities and neighborhoods.

Tree Smarts

By Marion McParland


Does your yard look anything like mine? I hope not! Our trees really suffered under the grip of the polar vortex this winter. As we sort through the broken branches and stack our growing supply of firewood for next fall, we wish we knew more about these co-habitants living on our property. Do they need pruning? Does the sycamore tree have a disease? Will our magnolia blossom again this spring? What can we do to help our overgrown holly tree?

If you have similar questions and worries about your trees, now is your chance to register for a three-session PHS Tree Tenders® course taking place in Philadelphia on Wednesdays, April 30, May 7 and May 14, from 5:45 to 9 p.m. You will learn everything you need to know to tend a tree in your region, community, or your own backyard. This hands-on training includes tree biology, identification, planting, and proper care. PHS Tree Tenders is available for continuing education credits from the ISA, PA LA, and PLNA.

Please note that this three-session course will be held at The Science Leadership Academy at 55 N. 22nd Street in Philadelphia.

If you live in Chester or Montgomery Counties, you may be interested in two courses taking place closer to home. PHS Tree Tenders will be offering a course on Thursdays, April 10, 17, and 24 from 6 to 9 p.m. at Kimberton Waldorf School, 410 West Seven Stars Road in Phoenixville. Additionally, a third course will take place in on Tuesdays, May 6, 13, and 20, from 6 to 9 p.m. at Jarrett Nature Center/Simmons School, 411 Babylon Road in Horsham.

This course is open to adults and children ages 16 and up. The fee is $25. For more information, or to register, please visit





PHS “Pops Up” in the News

When you work at PHS, people occasionally ask what you do in between flower shows. As the articles mentioned below make clear, the answer is LOTS! Autumn is an especially busy season, but it’s the good kind of busy: fast-paced, fruitful, and fulfilling. Here’s a look into what we’re up to.

Urban Farmers Unite
October 18 saw the return of PHeaSt, a fundraiser to support the PHS City Harvest program. We were fortunate enough to feature the talents of 30 all-star chefs, but the true celebrities of the night were the local growers who make fresh food available in all corners of the city. The South Philly Review previewed PHeaSt, which you can read here.

Branching Out
Grid magazine helped spread the word about PHS Tree Tenders, which wrapped up a few weeks back. This training course transforms everyday people into greening heroes by teaching them how to plant and care for trees. You can read the article here, which will likely motivate you to sign up for the January 2014 session.

Up the Wall
You may not know the name Keith Haring, but I guarantee you’ll recognize his perennially popular paintings. In the late 1980s, Haring created a vibrant mural titled “We the Youth” in the Point Breeze neighborhood. The Mural Arts Program recently wrapped up an extensive restoration of the landmark, and PHS proudly helped to redesign and rebuild the adjacent garden. See it for yourself here.

I Love This Bar
As the weather gets colder, it’s easy to become nostalgic for summer, especially all the fun we had in the warm, wonderful Pop Up Garden on Broad Street. Earlier this week, Foobooz unveiled its list of the city’s 50 best bars, and the Pop Up Garden received special recognition. (It couldn’t qualify for the actual list now that it’s closed.) Read what made this temporary space so unforgettable here.

It’s the Holiday Season
Of course we can’t dwell in the past! Instead we look ahead to the holiday season and the opening of the PHS Pop Up Store in Chestnut Hill. In fact, it opens today, November 8, and runs through December. Stop by for relaxed shopping in a cozy holiday setting. Details here courtesy of Uwishunu.

Clark Park group SIYP05

Become a Tree Tender in Two Weeks!

Last week you hopefully saw the way-cool video about Tree Tenders created by Flying Kite Media. If you missed it, click here.

If the video inspired you to want to become a Tree Tender, you’re in luck. We are pleased to announce that a session is less than two weeks away! The two-part training will be held at PHS on Saturday, Jan. 21 and Jan. 28 from 8:30 am – 1 pm. The class fee is $25.

Tree Tenders training will cover tree biology, identification, planting, proper care, and working within your community. Plus, Tree Tenders counts for ISA, PA LA, Act 48 and PLNA credit.

So learn how to better yourself and better your community. Register before it’s too late!

Volunteer Spotlight: Mia Mengucci

More than a few PHS staff members claim Mia Mengucci as one of their “star” volunteers. Mia has her hand in a bit of everything at PHS, from the Flower Show to Tree Tenders to the Gold Medal Plant Award program.

A Pennsylvania-certified horticulturist, Mia began her career working in greenhouses as a teenager. She then moved on to gardening for private clients and working in garden centers. She currently works at Primex in Glenside, PA.

Mia became involved with PHS during her application to join the Pa. Landscape & Nursery Association. Part of her training included a volunteer stint at the PHS Gold Medal Plant Award booth at the Flower Show about 10 years ago. “I was the volunteer who wouldn’t go away,” she laughs. Since then Mia has returned every year to help at the Show, as well as to talk about Gold Medal plants at other events.

“The Flower Show kicks off the gardening season for me,” says Mia. “It’s like reunion week; it’s a lot of fun. But I also take very seriously my role as a PHS representative.”

Knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and passionate about gardening, Mia is a graduate of the PHS Tree Tenders and Green City Teachers training programs. For the past eight years, she has been active with the West Mount Airy Tree Tenders group and leads a local Girl Scout troop in planting trees. She serves on the Tree Tenders Advisory Committee, gives lectures at the Gardener’s Studio at the Flower Show and for the PHS Gardening Series workshops, and volunteers at the PHS Kids Grow Expo.

“I love my PHS family,” Mia says.  “I can’t say enough about what PHS has done for me. I value the connection as I would value a very dear friendship—that’s why I say ‘yes’ to everything!”