WPC and Colcom Foundation to Launch the Pittsburgh Redbud Project on April 19

Event includes planting 60 trees on the North Shore and redbud tree giveaways 

WHAT: The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (WPC) and Colcom Foundation will launch a new initiative called the Pittsburgh Redbud Project. The project aims to plant hundreds of native Eastern redbud trees on trails, hillsides, parks and open spaces along the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio rivers around downtown Pittsburgh and near Point State Park. An initiative of WPC funded by Colcom Foundation in celebration of the foundation’s 20th anniversary, the project will help reforest the city’s riverfronts with native trees and vegetation and bring color to the landscape. Redbud trees are among the first native flowering tree species to bloom each year in early spring, with a flourish of pink flowers. Over the course of three planting seasons (spring 2016, fall 2016 and spring 2017), 1,200 new trees, including redbuds, evergreens and cherry trees, will be planted, contributing to the natural beauty along the riverfronts. Also, 1,500 redbud and other native tree seedlings will be given away to volunteers and community members beginning April 16 through May 12 at various Pittsburgh Redbud Project events.

WHEN: Tuesday, April 19, 2016 at 10 a.m.

The launch will begin at 10 a.m., with a tree-planting event to follow at around 10:15 a.m. where attendees and students will plant 60 redbud trees along the trail.

WHERE: Pittsburgh’s North Shore along the Three Rivers Heritage Trail (along North Shore Drive near the Fred Rogers statue and Heinz Field). View a map here.

WHO: Representatives from WPC and Colcom Foundation will talk more about the significance of this new initiative. Soon after, they’ll join 40 students from Winchester Thurston School to plant some of the first redbud trees for this new project. The eighth-grade students have been learning about tree benefits and health, and why trees are vital to communities for air and water quality. The students are participating in the school’s City as Our Campus program which amplifies student learning by providing unique educational opportunities with leaders from Pittsburgh’s academic, cultural, scientific, non-profit and business community.

WHY: Pittsburgh’s winters are cold and gray. And by the end of March of each year, many people are ready for warmer weather and a glimpse of spring. Most of the existing vegetation along Pittsburgh’s riverfronts are non-flowering trees and their leaves don’t begin maturing until mid-April. The Pittsburgh Redbud Project is a strategic effort to plant trees – redbuds and other flowering trees and evergreens – that will provide bursts of color in early spring of each year. In addition to beautifying the area, the trees will also reduce the amount of stormwater runoff and pollutants entering the rivers, improve habitat for wildlife and help decrease air pollution. The project idea was developed by Frank Dawson, a Pittsburgh-based landscape architect with Cannon Design, who was inspired by the natural beauty of the redbud tree, downtown Pittsburgh and the popular cherry blossoms in our nation’s capital.

This project continues WPC’s ongoing work to green downtown Pittsburgh through its flower gardens, planters and hanging baskets, trees and other greening projects. Since 2010, WPC – working with the City of Pittsburgh Forestry Division – has planted more than 300 trees in downtown Pittsburgh, most of which were also funded by Colcom Foundation. Also, WPC has led the planting of more than 25,000 trees throughout Pittsburgh and Allegheny County with its TreeVitalize partners and the help of thousands of volunteers.


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 a quarter million acres of natural lands and protected or restored more than 3,000 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 130 community gardens and other green spaces that are planted with the help of about 12,500 volunteers. The work of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy is accomplished through the support of more than 10,000 members. For more information, visit

About Colcom Foundation:

Colcom Foundation was created by the late Cordelia S. May, a Western Pennsylvania philanthropist. In Southwestern Pennsylvania, the Foundation funds environmental projects such as land conservation, watershed remediation, habitat protection and air quality. In Pittsburgh, the Foundation supports programs enhancing the quality of life and community livability. Nationally, the Foundation addresses population issues. For more information, visit


Kristen Blevins
Communications Specialist