May 11, 2023 -- PHILADELPHIA, PA – On June 3rd, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) and Centro de Cultura Arte Trabajo y Educacion (CCATE) will partner to give away over 60 trees to Norristown, PA residents, helping to build vital tree canopy in the area. Norristown residents interested in obtaining a free tree should register by May 15th, as well as attend an intensive Tree Tenders training class on May 20th, which will give instructions in both English and Spanish on how to properly care for the new tree(s).
This PHS Tree Tenders class will be held May 20th, with check in beginning at 8:30am and the training running from 9:00am – 4:30pm. Breakfast and lunch will be provided. Registration for this course will not only qualify Norristown residents for up to 2 free trees but will also equip them with the knowledge and skill set needed to come together with fellow community members to plant, support, and care for trees in their community, and ensure the new trees thrive in their critical first few years of life.
Norristown, PA is a priority neighborhood in which programming is systematically delivered to advance health, well-being, and equity through gardening and horticulture. Residents who register for a free tree for their neighborhood will help bolster vital tree canopy in Norristown, which has been shown to reduce urban heat island effects and instances of heat-related illness, along with provide numerous wellbeing benefits for communities.
As of 2019, US Census data shows Norristown's population is 37.2% Black or African American, 27.9% white (non-Hispanic), 27.1% Hispanic, and 6.4% two or more races. Almost 20% of Norristown’s population lives below the poverty line. Norristown encompasses many neighborhoods with low tree equity scores according to American Forests’ data.
On the day of tree pickup on June 3rd, residents can come to CCATE headquarters at 1246 W. Main St, Norristown, PA between 10am and 1pm to pick up their chosen tree(s). PHS, CCATE, and Colonial Canopy Tree Tenders representatives and volunteers will be on-site to guide recipients. Both English and Spanish speakers will also be on-site.
“We are so excited to be partnering with CCATE to host this tree giveaway in Norristown and encourage residents to come together to plant and care for trees in their communities, armed with PHS Tree Tenders education. I highly encourage Norristown residents to take advantage of this great opportunity to develop tree canopy in their neighborhood.” Stated PHS’s Director of Trees, Tim Ifill.
Funding for tree planting efforts in Norristown, PA, is generously supported by a grant of $50,000 from Bank of America and the Arbor Day Foundation. PHS aims to use this grant to create and implement a comprehensive strategy of best practices in community engagement; including authentically listening to and building relationships with leaders and stakeholders within Norristown’s Black, Latino, and other communities of color, and working systematically to target and develop tree canopy in areas with these high-need communities.
To execute this initiative, PHS has worked closely with the teachers and researchers at CCATE that make up the Environmental Justice Teaching and Participatory Action Research Team, including Caitlin Brady, Diana Lugo, Rosalba Esquivel-Cote, and Gilliam Lorenzo. This team holds weekly after-school and adult programming around environmental justice that incorporates community-based research projects regarding issues that affect their community; including climate change, water quality, indoor and outdoor air quality, lead contamination, recycling, and community composting, and now, this tree canopy initiative.
“PHS has been a wonderful support and resource in developing tree canopy in the Norristown area. I look forward to seeing how our united efforts this season can create more impact for residents, and with continued partnership, I hope to see Norristown reach its canopy goals and continue to address environmental inequity to create an overall healthier community,” stated Caitlin Brady, member of the Environmental Justice Teaching and Participatory Action Research Team at CCATE.
For more information on the PHS Tree Tenders program, please visit below.
The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS), an internationally recognized nonprofit organization founded in 1827, uses horticulture to advance the health and well-being of the Greater Philadelphia Region. PHS programs create healthier living environments, increase access to fresh food, expand access to jobs and economic opportunity, and strengthen deeper social connections between people. PHS’s work spans 250 neighborhoods; an expansive network of public gardens and landscapes; year-round learning experiences; and the nation’s signature gardening event, the Philadelphia Flower Show. PHS provides everyone with opportunities to garden for the greater good as a participant, member, donor, or volunteer.
Founded in 1972, the Arbor Day Foundation has grown to become the largest nonprofit membership organization dedicated to planting trees, with more than one million members, supporters, and valued partners. Since 1972, almost 500 million Arbor Day Foundation trees have been planted in neighborhoods, communities, cities, and forests throughout the world. Our vision is to lead toward a world where trees are used to solve issues critical to survival.
As one of the world's largest operating conservation foundations, the Arbor Day Foundation, through its members, partners, and programs, educates and engages stakeholders and communities across the globe to involve themselves in its mission of planting, nurturing and celebrating trees. More information is available at arborday.org.