By Caralyn Green
Pittsburgh, PA (June 24, 2009)- While the national average for similar-sized metropolitan areas is one street tree per every two people, Pittsburgh’s average is one per 11, says Danielle Crumrine with Friends of the Pittsburgh Urban Forest. And the average drops dramatically in neighborhoods like the Strip District, Lawrenceville, East Liberty, and Homewood, where there is one tree per every 22 people, for example.
Friends is working with TreeVitalize, a statewide public-private partnership, in an effort to plant one million trees by 2012. Pittsburgh’s goal is 20,000, and in its second year of participation, has reached about 3,500. Friends’ recent work includes community education sessions and schoolyard greening initiatives, as well as plantings in East Liberty and Downtown.
For its East Liberty project, Friends received a $10,000 grant from the Alliance for Community Trees and national Home Depot Foundation to plant six trees last week at the Sojourner MOMS house, which provides housing and services for homeless, single women struggling with addiction, and their dependent children.
“The next step is to work with adjacent property owners to get them to plant trees in their front yards so we can restore the street’s tree line,” says Crumrine. “It’s so important because trees improve air quality, energy efficiency and stormwater runoff, and increase neighborhoods’ safety and property values.”
This week, Friends is finishing its Downtown project — 10 trees in front of the new August Wilson Center at 980 Liberty Ave. With support of the Center and Richard King Mellon Foundation, Friends is using Silva Cell technology to manage stormwater and prevent soil compaction. This is the first time Silva Cell technology will be used in Pennsylvania, Crumrine says.
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Friends of the Pittsburgh Urban Forest
The Home Depot Foundation