December 16th, 2020 – (Philadelphia, PA) – Northeast Philadelphia is a lot greener this year thanks to Riverfront North Partnership and its partners. With the help of neighbors and friends, the non-profit organization planted and gave away over 250 native trees and shrubs as part of an ongoing forest restoration project at Pennypack on the Delaware Park in Holmesburg.
The restoration project plants a variety of new healthy native tree species in our parks, reducing the urban heat island in Northeast Philadelphia, which has one of the lowest percentages of tree coverage in the City. Focused primarily on Pennypack on the Delaware, the work expanded this year to include Fluehr Park with members of the Torresdale community who wished to improve their park. It also included distribution of native fruit bearing trees to the Philadelphia Prison System, which operates an orchard that provides job skill training to incarcerated individuals.
Community members, PowercorpsPHL, Tree Northeast, and Friends of the Wissahickon volunteer crew leaders, as well as members of the former Friends of Pennypack Park, joined together to plant trees over several weekends in the fall. Riverfront North offered training on proper tree planting as work began and provided trees and assistance to the community who will take care of the trees at Fluehr Park.
“As a friend of Fluehr Park on Grant Ave. we’ve noticed that trees have been falling down and haven’t been replaced, so we are excited to begin an initiative to start planting trees at the park because it’s so well loved and used by people in the community” said local resident Dan Coonan. Riverfront North Stewardship Manager John Jensen is helping to oversee the project. “This project will have such an amazing impact on the biodiversity of these sites. Increasing the types of species of native trees and shrubs here will be directly reflected in the types of insects and animals that can find food and a home here. It is so nice to be able to make a long-term investment in the health of our city and its inhabitants, big and small,” said Johnson.
Funding for this initiative was provided by grants from TD Bank’s TD Tree Days as well as the TreeVitalize Watersheds Grant program, managed by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, with funding from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s Growing Greener program, PECO and Aqua PA for projects located within its source water protection zones.
These 250 new trees and shrubs are part of work that began four years ago at Pennypack on the Delaware to create a viable shoreline for native plants and wildlife. It includes clearing the land of invasive and non-native species, planting hundreds of native trees and shrubs, and a 2021 shoreline stabilization of the Pennypack Creek as it meets the Delaware River. Philadelphia Parks and Recreation provides ongoing maintenance.
“When I think about what’s been accomplished so far, I am amazed at the power of our committed partners and volunteers to completely transform an overgrown and dying landscape into a healthy native habitat. said Riverfront North Partnership Executive Director Stephanie Phillips. “This is hard, unforgiving work and it can only be done with support from our community.”
For more information on our forest restoration project, visit https://vimeo.com/390580909.
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(credit: Riverfront North Partnership)
About Riverfront North Partnership:
Riverfront North Partnership, a charitable nonprofit organization, is dedicated to building an 11-mile linear network of parks and trails extending south to Allegheny Avenue in the Port Richmond neighborhood and north to the Poquessing Creek in the Torresdale neighborhood. Riverfront North is dedicated to activating the riverfront corridor with a variety of community programming and environmental stewardship. For more information on Riverfront North Partnership’s past and current projects, please visit riverfrontnorth.org, call us at 215-425-8350 or follow us on social media: @riverfrontnorth.