Taking the Trees to the People

Julie Slavet
Jun 9, 2020

Trees with Nate and Susan

By Susan Volz, Philadelphia Community Organizer

Did you see Creek Force One? Our colorful TTF van was on the road last month delivering trees as part of TreePhilly!

TreePhilly is a program of Philadelphia Parks & Recreation and the Fairmount Park Conservancy that works to increase tree cover as part of the city’s sustainability efforts. Twice a year, TreePhilly partners with community groups to give out free yard trees for residents to plant on their property. 

Why are urban trees so important? Urban heat island effect is a phenomenon where the lack of tree cover plus exposed asphalt and black roofs makes cities significantly hotter than surrounding areas. In Philadelphia, some neighborhoods can be as much as 22 degrees hotter than other parts of the city. This is borne worst by lower-income communities of color, many of which are in our watershed. TTF Watershed Partnership has been a TreePhilly partner in the past, but this year proved a new challenge with the social-distancing restrictions in response to COVID-19 and public health concerns.

Instead of a giveaway event at which people come to pick up their trees as we’ve done in the past, we decided that the safest option was to do personal home tree deliveries. This is where Creek Force 1 comes in!

TTF staff Nate and Susan had to play a bit of tree Tetris to get 24 trees loaded into the van. This year, the city offered a variety of fruit trees such as pears, plums, and figs. Creek Force 1 made its way delivering trees and mulch throughout the neighborhoods surrounding Tacony Creek Park.

Social distancing measures meant that trees and mulch were left on porches and stoops. People were still very enthusiastic about getting their trees and neighbors shouted their thanks through screen doors and open windows. One recipient proudly showed off her 10-year old street tree, another TreePhilly giveaway. Another neighbor excitedly asked when they’d be able to start enjoying the fruits from their trees! 

We’re glad that even during this time of social distancing we’re able to provide a great resource to our neighbors around Tacony Creek Park. We’re looking forward to seeing pictures from people once their trees are planted!

Enjoy more photos here.

Special thanks to the Juniata Golf Club for their help!

Interested in learning more about how you can help us plant trees? Contact Susan@ttfwatershed.org.


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