Tree Pittsburgh Celebrates Earth And Arbor Days With Seedling Giveaways

Apr 22, 2016

Tree Pittsburgh Nursery Manager Megan Palomo checks on the progress of germinating tree seeds at the Heritage Nursery in Lawrenceville.
Credit Virginia Alvino / 90.5 WESA News

Tree Pittsburgh has a lot to celebrate. Friday marks Earth Day, Arbor Day is just around the corner and this year, the nonprofit turns 10 years old. 

Executive Director Danielle Crumrine said, with the help of partners and thousands of volunteers, she's hoping to plant 10,000 trees this year marking a decade of service. That’s five times more than the organization generally plants each year.

“On Earth Day, when everyone’s thinking about trees and the environment, it’s a good time to remind folks that trees need people to care for them,” Crumrine said.

Between train tracks and the Allegheny River in Upper Lawrenceville, workers tend to batches of saplings at the group's heritage nursery. 

“These are red buckeyes and some yellow buckeyes,” said Manager Megan Palomo, walking through rows of trays filled with germinating tree seeds. “And then in this center table here we have a lot of different types of birch (and) magnolias. We also have some flowering dogwoods.” 

Palomo said she’s excited to see 6-inch sticks with little leaves popping out of the soil; she worried they wouldn’t germinate after this year's unseasonably late cold weather. Palomo said all of Tree Pittsburgh's seeds are collected from nearby parks and cemeteries, which lowers costs and increases biodiversity.

Trees need to be cared for by people, Crumrine said, but people need trees, too.

“We’re up against rising temperatures, we have combined overflow sewer problems in our city (and) we have air quality problems in our city,” Crumrine said.

Pittsburgh’s tree canopy has also taken a big hit recently due to the emerald ash borer, Crumrine said.

With the close culmination of Arbor Day and Earth Day, Tree Pittsburgh is encouraging locals to host or attend one of several events. Organizers are also giving away 1,000 tree seedlings on Arbor Day.