Wilkinsburg TreeVitalize Project Plants 500th Tree

Wed, Apr 17th 2013, 09:25. Filed under News Releases.

Wilkinsburg, Pa. – April 17 – Volunteers will plant the 500th tree in the borough on Earth Day as they strive toward mitigating polluted storm water runoff, providing cleaner air and improving the aesthetics of the area.

The Wilkinsburg planting project is part of the Pittsburgh-area TreeVitalize program, led by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy in partnership the Borough of Wilkinsburg, the Nine Mile Run Watershed Association and the Wilkinsburg Community Development Corporation.

The partners have planted 500 trees throughout the borough over the last two years and will mark the milestone with a ceremonial planting at 10 a.m. Monday, April 22, at the Wilkinsburg Borough Building at 605 Ross Ave. Members of the Wilkinsburg Shade Tree Committee and borough arborists will also attend the event.

The ceremonial tree will also be planted in memory of John Metzler, the founder of Urban Tree Forge and its lead artist, who passed away in May 2010.

“This is a fitting way to celebrate Earth Day,” said Jeffrey Bergman, director of TreeVitalize Pittsburgh. “From reducing storm water and helping air quality to sheltering wildlife and improving residents’ quality of life, trees provide us so many environmental, economic, and quality of life benefits which actually increase over time.”

The project was made possible with a $500,000 grant to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and Borough of Wilkinsburg in 2011 from the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PennVest). The trees were planted on public property throughout Wilkinsburg.

The project aimed to help prevent polluted storm water runoff from rainfall and snowmelt from entering the Nine Mile Run stream in Frick Park. Storm water runoff has significant negative environmental impacts throughout the Pittsburgh region, including sewage overflows into our rivers and streams and non-point source pollution that impacts aquatic life and habitat. Through intercepting and absorbing precipitation through their canopy and root systems, trees are an affordable and effective way to reduce storm water runoff.

This is part of TreeVitalize Pittsburgh’s current goal of planting 20,000 trees in the Pittsburgh region by the end of this year.

Under the management of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, and with support of five partners, private foundations and public agencies and the work of more than 4,200 volunteers, TreeVitalize Pittsburgh has planted more than 17,500 trees since 2008. TreeVitalize is the product of work by WPC and its partners – Allegheny County, the City of Pittsburgh, Tree Pittsburgh and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR).

But the work is not done after the trees are planted. Dozens of volunteers in Wilkinsburg and other communities that have received trees will continue to mulch, water and care for the plants.

One tree can absorb as many as 1,400 gallons of storm water runoff every year. All told, Pittsburgh’s street trees provide $2.4 million annually in economic and environmental benefits.


About the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy:
The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (WPC) enhances the region’s quality of life by protecting and restoring exceptional places. A private nonprofit conservation organization founded in 1932, WPC has helped to establish ten state parks, conserved more than 233,000 acres of natural lands and protected or restored more than 1,500 miles of rivers and streams. The Conservancy owns and operates Fallingwater, which symbolizes people living in harmony with nature. In addition, WPC enriches our region’s cities and towns through 135 community gardens and greenspaces that are planted with the help of 13,000 volunteers. The work of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy is accomplished through the support of more than 11,000 members. For more information, visit WaterLandLife.org.

Media contact:
Allison Schlesinger
Western Pennsylvania Conservancy
412-586-2358 (office)
412-607-1945 (cell)

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.