TreeVitalize Pittsburgh Reaches Goal, Celebrates 20,000th Tree with Ceremonial Planting

Wed, Nov 6th 2013, 11:45. Filed under News Releases.

Pittsburgh – Nov. 6 – A Pittsburgh urban forestry initiative managed by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy has reached its initial goal of planting 20,000 trees in the Pittsburgh area – or enough trees to fill New York City’s Central Park.

TreeVitalize Pittsburgh, an initiative supported by more than 7,100 volunteers, five key working partners and private and public funders, has planted thousands of trees in the metropolitan area since the project began in 2008. This is part of the Conservancy’s overall focus on urban forestry and green infrastructure.

TreeVitalize Pittsburgh will celebrate this milestone with a ceremonial planting at 12:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 7 near the entrance of Point State Park near the Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh.

“The completion of 20,000 tree plantings in the Pittsburgh region is an important milestone in the Conservancy’s urban forestry work. We are moving forward with many more planting initiatives across the region, such as trees on our urban corridors and in our neighborhoods, school grounds projects and community gardens,” said Thomas D. Saunders, WPC’s president and chief executive officer.

TreeVitalize is a statewide initiative led by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources in partnership with local governments, organizations and businesses to increase tree canopy in municipalities throughout the commonwealth.

TreeVitalize Pittsburgh is the product of work by WPC and its partners – Allegheny County, the City of Pittsburgh, Tree Pittsburgh and DCNR, which is also one of the initiative’s top funders. The trees being planted benefit communities in a number of ways, including managing storm water, reducing air pollution and energy costs, increasing property values and improving human and ecosystem health. All told, Pittsburgh’s street trees alone provide $2.4 million annually in economic and environmental benefits.

Financial support for TreeVitalize Pittsburgh was provided by not only DCNR, but also the Heinz Endowments, the Richard King Mellon Foundation, the Colcom Foundation and the Pennsylvania Infrastructure and Investment Authority, also known as PENNVEST, among others. To date, $8.7 million dollars has been invested in the program for tree planting, tree care and outreach efforts.

This week’s ceremony will include remarks from Allegheny County Chief Executive Rich Fitzgerald; DCNR Assistant State Forester Matt Keefer; Pittsburgh Mayor-elect Bill Peduto; Pittsburgh Shade Tree Commission Chair Mardi Isler; and Saunders.

Urban forestry is in the Conservancy’s DNA. The organization’s first on-the-ground project involved the planting of trees in an urban setting in 1940. Under its former name of the Greater Pittsburgh Parks Association, it restored a massive hillside and the area below it along Bigelow Boulevard in the city of Pittsburgh.


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

For more information about the statewide TreeVitalize program visit

Media contact:

Allison Schlesinger
Western Pennsylvania Conservancy