Trees for Johnstown
Trees for Johnstown is a multi-phase project of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy in partnership with the City of Johnstown and the Johnstown Shade Tree Commission in Cambria County. With a generous grant from the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies, WPC has established a comprehensive community forestry program in the city that includes a street and park tree inventory and analysis, the completion of a database to track forestry work, forestry expertise, education and outreach, planting and maintenance plans, and volunteer engagement.
Over the course of 2017, Conservancy staff completed a street and park tree inventory for the City of Johnstown and created a report, called Trees for Johnstown, analyzing the City’s tree inventory, providing in-depth benefits analysis, as well as best maintenance practices for planting and maintenance. In addition to the report, WPC staff engaged 50 volunteers to plant 25 trees in locations throughout the City in the fall of 2017.
The Trees for Johnstown report includes an iTree Analysis, a leading forestry analysis model developed by the US Forest Service and Davey Tree Company. This analysis provides data on the current environmental, economic and aesthetic benefits of Johnstown’s street and park tree population. Johnstown’s public trees currently return more than $200,000 in benefits to the community annually. These benefits will increase over time as the tree canopy grows.
We are also partnering with Penn State Extension on Tree Tender training courses for the project. This program is a formal training program for community residents to help understand the importance of community forestry, tree biology, and how to plant and care for trees. Other partners on city-wide community outreach include the Roxbury Civic Group, the City of Johnstown Planning Commission, the Johnstown Shade Tree Commission, the EADS Group as well as collaboration with the Director of Public Works to implement education and outreach efforts for businesses, property owners and residents.
Community education and outreach helps guarantee the success of community forestry projects so that everyone has a vested interest in valuing, planting and caring for their trees now and in the future. The Trees for Johnstown project is in line with and actively contributes to Johnstown’s Vision 2025, a volunteer-based organization with a vision to improve the Johnstown region under three primary concepts: a strong sense of community, life sustaining landscapes and a vibrant and open local economy.
The Conservancy will build on the Trees for Johnstown project in 2018 by working with partners and residents to identify and plant an additional 50 street trees and train residents on proper tree care with Penn State Extension.