TreeVitalize Pittsburgh forms

Wed, Apr 16th 2008, 11:58. Filed under News Releases.

TreeVitalize Pittsburgh, a new partnership dedicated to making a significant improvement in the Pittsburgh region’s tree cover, announced its formation on April 16, 2008 at a kick-off event in Lawrenceville. Officials planted one of 250 trees that will go in the ground this spring in celebration of Pittsburgh’s 250th anniversary.

A partnership of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), the City of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, and the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, TreeVitalize Pittsburgh intends to plant thousands of trees in the region during the next several years.

DCNR Secretary Michael DiBerardinis announced a $250,000 Community Conservation Partnerships Program grant from Keystone funds to the City of Pittsburgh as the first investment in the program. Keystone is a DCNR fund generated from a portion of the realty transfer tax. TreeVitalize Pittsburgh also is supported by the Heinz Endowments.

“With only one street tree for every 11 people, Pittsburgh’s tree-per-capita ratio falls behind other major U.S. cities,” DiBerardinis said at the event. “TreeVitalize is meant to improve that ratio as a way to revitalize our communities, improve air and water quality and enhance the quality of life for our citizens.”

Also speaking at the event and assisting in the tree-planting were City of Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato, and Western Pennsylvania Conservancy President and CEO Tom Saunders.

“This is more than just putting trees in the ground,” said Mayor Ravenstahl. “Our goal is to educate citizens, build regional collaboration and capacity to promote stewardship of our natural resources.”

This April, with the support of community groups and local nonprofit organizations, 250 trees will be planted in Pittsburgh neighborhoods, city and county parks and riverfronts. The ceremonial tree planted today is an American hornbeam, native to the eastern United States. It is one of 15 new trees planted on Fisk Street in April by more than 40 tree tenders and neighborhood volunteers, as well as Friends of the Pittsburgh Urban Forest and TreeVitalize. Neighbors and tree tenders have committed to caring for the trees for the first two to three years after planting by watering, mulching and pruning them. After the trees become too large for volunteer stewardship, the City of Pittsburgh will assume responsibility for their management.

“If properly maintained, trees return environmental, economic and social benefits to a community far in excess of the costs of maintaining them,” said County Executive Onorato.

TreeVitalize Pittsburgh is modeled after the award-winning TreeVitalize of southeastern Pennsylvania, which has planted more than 20,000 trees in that region since its launch in 2004. In southwestern Pennsylvania, the program will be coordinated on behalf of the partners by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, through its Pittsburgh office.

Trees deliver more than aesthetic benefits. They improve the environment by producing oxygen, reducing pollution, capturing rainwater, and providing shelter for animals. They reduce greenhouse gases by using carbon dioxide. Trees also generate economic benefits by increasing property values, reducing heating and cooling costs, and improving quality of life.

For more information about how to plant and care for trees, visit


Media contacts:

Kevin Evanto
Allegheny County
(412) 350-3171

Christina Novak
Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
(717) 772-9101

Joanna Doven
Mayor Luke Ravenstahl
(412) 255-2694

Stephanie Kraynick
Western Pennsylvania Conservancy
(412) 586-2358



The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy is a nonprofit, tax-exempt charitable organization under Section 501(c)(3)
of the Internal Revenue Code, and 100% of your donation is tax-deductable as allowed by law.