Exciting News!

5,000 trees planted to restore West Fairmount Park forest as Urban Forestry Plan launches

by Melissa Romero on December 6, 2019

More than 5,000 native trees and shrubs have a new home on the grounds of the Fairmount Park Horticulture Center, thanks to a year-long planting effort by Fairmount Park Conservancy, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, PowerCorps PHL, and volunteers. 

These 30 acres by the Montgomery and Lansdowne creeks which flow into the Schuylkill River, are now home to a variety of native species, including black gum, juneberries, willows, oaks, maples, and sycamores, to name a few.

It’s an important step in the forest restoration effort that has been going on for nearly two years. Before that, the site had been overgrown with invasive and non-native trees and plants. Diminished resources and incursions of infrastructure had separated the Montgomery and Lansdowne creeks from their sustaining upland watersheds. In turn, their capacity to keep our waters clean and foster plant and animal life had suffered.

This forest restoration will bring many benefits to these natural lands in West Fairmount Park. Beyond creating a more beautiful environment, the native trees and shrubs will provide valuable wildlife habitat and ecosystem benefits and these creek valleys will become more beneficial to insects, birds, and mammals.

Up Next: The Future of Philly’s Urban Forest

The completion of the tree planting this year comes just as the City of Philadelphia announced the launch of its first-ever “Future of the Urban Forest” Planning Process. In support of city-wide equity and sustainability goals, the plan will establish a 10-year strategy to grow, protect, and care for Philadelphia’s tree canopy, and set forth new ways of working with residents to combat climate change. The plan will provide recommendations to the City and its partners on how to best coordinate and strengthen their work on tree planting and maintenance, and what role policy can play to support a more tree-friendly culture across the city.

The planning process began today with a citywide Tree Summit: a meeting of 100 of the Philadelphia’s leading arborists, environmental educators, and community leaders organized by Philadelphia Parks & Recreation and the City’s Philadelphia Office of Sustainability at the Discovery Center in East Fairmount Park. 

To learn more about the Future of the Urban Forest Strategic Planning Process, please visit Philadelphia Parks & Recreation’s website here.

In the meantime, check out the timeline of this forest restoration project below.