May 27, 2011 by Helen Nowotnik
To help reach Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter’s citywide goal of planting 300,000 new trees by 2015, Drexel Green is sponsoring a tree giveaway for Drexel faculty and professional staff living in Philadelphia.
After preregistering, Drexel faculty and staff will be able to pick up a free tree from the “Greening Together” tree giveaway Saturday, June 4 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Vidas Athletic Complex on 43rd Street and Powelton Avenue.
In Nutter’s 2008 inaugural address, he pledged to make Philadelphia the greenest city in the United States by 2015. He created the Office of Sustainability to talk to residents and conduct research on municipal sustainability. In the spring of 2009, the office created Greenworks Philadelphia, a plan that targets 15 methods of sustainability and works to achieve Nutter’s goal.
“Trees provide numerous benefits to the citizens of Philadelphia: they reduce air and water pollution, prevent storm water runoff, increase property values, provide shade and wind break to reduce heating and cooling costs, contribute to beautification efforts and generally promote greater stewardship within communities,” Erica Smith, the tree campaign manager of Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, said.
“Our mapping and analysis shows that a lot of potential space for planting is in the yards of private homes. In an effort to get yard trees out to homeowners we’ve organized a tree giveaway for the staff and employees of Drexel University,” Smith added.
According to Senior-Vice President James Tucker, to date, 51 Drexel faculty and professional staff members have registered for the program to.
The trees come from Octoraro Native Plant Nursery in Kirkwood, Pa. They are all native trees, including magnolia sweetbay, black gum, scarlet oak and hornbeam. Upon registration, recipients receive the trees in containers, along with planting instructions.
“The trees range in cost between $24 and $36 each, depending on the size of the container. Drexel is splitting the cost of the trees with City of Philadelphia Parks & Recreation,” Tucker said.
The tree giveaway is only for private yards. Depending on the size of the yard, a certified arborist will choose the most appropriate tree. According to the registration sheet, a small yard has to be at least 15 feet by 15 feet, and a large yard is 20 feet by 20 feet or larger.
Tucker added that Drexel’s commitment to improving the landscape of Philadelphia extends to the campus as well; he explained that a “landscaping component” is in the works as part of the new campus master plan.