Mayor Luke Ravenstahl announced today that during the week of October 19th, the City will be providing 1,500 free tree seedlings to City residents, kicking off the fall planting season by encouraging residents to register their planted tree as part of TreeVitalize's "Trees Count" program.
The week will kick-off Monday with the Mayor handing out seedlings from 11:30 to 12 noon at the portico of the City-County Building. Residents can also receive the seedlings at one of four Citiparks Farmers' Market locations.
"We're encouraging residents to pick up a free tree seedling and do their part to make Pittsburgh an even more greener, livable City," Ravenstahl said. "Planting a tree in your yard is the easiest and best thing to do to improve the environment through enhanced air quality and the mitigation of storm water run off."
The free seedlings are appropriately sized for a yard and will be given away on a "first come, first served" basis, one per resident. The donation is generously supported by the Shade Tree Commission, Friends of the Pittsburgh Urban Forest, and Eilser's Nursery.
The Mayor encourages residents to register their planted tree to help the Treevitalize Tree Count Program register 20,000 newly planted trees in Allegheny County by 2012. All residents have to do is go to the www.treevitalizepgh.org website to register.
"Through partnership and collaboration with non-profit organizations and tremendous volunteer support, there are more than 3,000 new trees in our region," Ravenstahl said. "Reaching our ambitious goal will greatly improve Pittsburgh's tree cover and pay off dividends for future generations."
The Street Tree Resource Analysis Tool for Urban Forest Managers (STRATUM), developed by the USDA Forest Service, established a complete cost-benefit analysis of Pittsburgh's street trees. According to the report released last year, Pittsburgh's street trees provide cumulative benefits to the community valued at an average of $81 per tree annually, for a gross total value of $2.4 million annually.
"Like streets, sidewalks, public buildings, and recreational facilities, trees are a major capital asset," Martha W. Isler, Pittsburgh Shade Tree Commission chair said. "Our trees help to conserve and reduce energy use, reduce local carbon dioxide levels, improve air quality, mitigate storm water runoff, and provide other benefits associated with aesthetics, property value and an increased quality-of-life."
With the hiring of the City's first urban forester, the City has committed $50,000 through in-kind public works services to help reach the goal. In addition, more than 700 trees have been planted in neighborhood business districts and parks with support from the Mayor's Taking Care of Business Program and the Treevitalize.
TreeVitalize Pittsburgh, a partnership to improve tree cover in the Pittsburgh region, is a joint project of Allegheny County, the City of Pittsburgh, Friends of the Pittsburgh Urban Forest, PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, and the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy.
Friday, October 16, 2009
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Office of Mayor Luke Ravenstahl
512 City County Building | 414 Grant Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
telephone: 412-255-2626 | facsimile: 412-255-2687