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Fairmount Park Conservancy sticks to its roots

by Grace Romo on December 18, 2023

All year round, Fairmount Park Conservancy supports the planting of trees throughout Philadelphia. This fall, our Natural Lands team planted 233 native trees and 45 shrubs at Haddington Woods in West Philadelphia’s Cobbs Creek Park in partnership with PowerCorps PHL and volunteers from TD Bank. This effort – all in a week’s work – was just the latest addition of new trees in Haddington Woods. The Conservancy, in partnership with other organizations, started a 60-acre urban forestry project at this site nine years ago, during which time over 5,600 trees have been planted. It’s one of many critical long-term ecological restorations led and supported by Fairmount Park Conservancy. 

Our focus is always on the big picture – helping to strengthen Philadelphia’s natural areas for the long haul by planting a range of species that can adapt to rapidly changing climate conditions. Conservancy experts work hand in hand with our partners to ensure a thoughtful, deliberate mix of native species that will enhance overall biodiversity — and remain resilient in Philadelphia’s hotter, wetter future.

In 2023 alone, Fairmount Park Conservancy has planted more than 5,000 trees in Philadelphia’s watershed parks like Cobbs Creek, East and West Fairmount Park, and FDR Park. Over the last three years, the Conservancy, with the support of hundreds of individuals, dozens of partner organizations, and corporations looking to give back, has planted more than 23,000 new trees in parks across Philadelphia. 

And we’re just getting started. 

A longtime partner of the city’s TreePhilly program, the Conservancy is one of six local organizations deeply involved with the Philly Tree Plan, the first comprehensive plan to equitably grow and care for Philadelphia’s urban forest. The goal is to grow Philadelphia’s tree canopy to 30% with a sharp focus on communities with the greatest need of support. Thanks to a grant awarded by the U.S. Forest Service last month, the Conservancy will use its share of the funding to plant trees in Fairmount Park, Cobbs Creek Park, Parkside in West Philadelphia, Strawberry Mansion in North Philadelphia, and Southwest Philadelphia over the next five years.

At FDR Park, where the implementation of the FDR Park Plan is well underway, the Conservancy, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, and Philadelphia International Airport are planting 7,000 new trees and 1,700 bushes and woody shrubs as part of a new 33-acre wetland in the southwest corner of the park that was previously difficult to safely access. The new wetlands will play a key role in the park, serving as a “green sponge” that will absorb water after rain and tidal events and dramatically reduce flooding while increasing nutrient uptake by vegetation, improving water quality, and so much more.

Looking beyond FDR Park in 2024, the Conservancy will add 200 more trees to Haddington Woods, and 400 more trees to the forest surrounding the Fairmount Park Horticulture Center – a 30-acre restoration project site that the Conservancy has invested in since 2018.

Stay tuned for more information on these and other upcoming planting events, and how to get involved.