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TreeVitalize Pittsburgh plants 20,000th tree

Assistant State Forester Matt Keefer helps local dignitaries mulch the 20,000th tree.
A Pittsburgh urban forestry initiative has reached its initial goal of planting 20,000 trees in the Pittsburgh area—enough trees to fill New York City’s Central Park.

TreeVitalize is a statewide initiative led by DCNR in partnership with local governments, organizations and businesses to increase tree canopy in municipalities throughout the commonwealth.

TreeVitalize Pittsburgh, which began in 2008, celebrated this milestone Nov. 7 with a ceremonial tree planting at the entrance to Point State Park.

DCNR’s Assistant State Forester Matt Keefer participated in the event and said, “We all know the benefits that trees provide such as stormwater management, beautifying our towns and cities, improving air quality, and increasing property values…but what excites us most about the success of the work here in Pittsburgh are the relationships built during the process and the commitment and investment that people are making to improve the quality of life in their neighborhoods and cities.”

The effort managed by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy is supported by 6,700 volunteers and eight private and public funders including DCNR.

The 20,000th TreeVitalize tree planted in Point State Park.
"This is an important milestone for the Conservancy’s urban forestry work. We intend to move forward with more green infrastructure initiatives across the region, such as tree plantings, community gardens, school grounds projects and bioswales,” said Thomas D. Saunders, WPC’s president and chief executive officer.

TreeVitalize trees being planted benefit communities in a number of ways, including managing storm water, reducing air pollution and energy costs, increasing property values and improving human and ecosystem health. All told, Pittsburgh’s street trees alone provide $2.4 million annually in economic and environmental benefits.

Financial support for TreeVitalize Pittsburgh was provided by not only DCNR, but also the Heinz Endowments, the Richard King Mellon Foundation, the Colcom Foundation and the Pennsylvania Infrastructure and Investment Authority, also known as PENNVEST. To date, $8.7 million dollars has been invested in the program for tree planting, tree care and outreach efforts.

For more information on TreeVitalize go here.

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November 13, 2013

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