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Tree maintenance crew tackling park projects citywide

The TreeKeepers program aims to train and educate work-ready individuals in proper arboricultural methods and green space maintenance, allowing Philly Parks & Rec to more efficiently and holistically preserve and restore our city’s parks, playgrounds, and rec centers. By also incorporating a number of ex-offenders in our crew, we also strive to provide stable and meaningful work to those re-entering our communities, and stand as an example of a successful reintegrative strategy.

2014 marks the fourth year of the TreeKeepers program, and with this new year, the crew’s work season has been extended from 6 months to 9 months, which means more time for new tasks and a more time to revisit more familiar faces. The goal for the TreeKeepers program for 2014 is to continue lengthening the list of parks that have been “touched”, or managed and maintained by the program.  What remains constant is our commitment to furthering the quality of life of all Philadelphia neighborhoods and that, over time, we can get all 300 PPR sites on a consistent rotation that will leave every park looking exactly the way it should: clean, green, and beautiful!

Hard At Work!! Here’s a glimpse into the TreeKeepers’ hard work over the past year:

  • Over 90 park sites visited in the City of Philadelphia,
  • Over 7000 trees pruned, and
  • Over 100 tons of debris removed in the last year alone.
2013 TreeKeeper Arturo unloads tree debris at the Fairmount Park Recycling Center.

2013 TreeKeeper Arturo unloads tree debris at the Recycling Center in Fairmount.

This year, the TreeKeepers program continues right where it left off last year, with completing an inventory of follow-up work for city arborists which include:

  • Removal of dead trees,
  • Removal of poison ivy and spraying of other invasive weeds,
  • Reporting larger pruning projects and identifying locations for new tree plantings with parks,
  • Maintenance of inner city street trees,
  • Maintenance of stormwater basins.  
  • New to last year’s effort was the recording of work related data entry, which allowed us to calculate just how much work the TreeKeepers do.  After a resounding success, the program will continue to do so this year.

Not just a tree crew, the TreeKeepers are involved in more than just tree tending.  You can see them across the city lending a hand in various ways, including helping out with the city’s newest seasonal feature, The Oval, and with TreePhilly’s Tree Giveaways!  

TreePhilly Giveaway, Columbus

2013 TreeKeeper Jorge and and NE Philly Tree Tender leader Hasan Malik (also of the Philadelphia Water Department) share a smile at a tree giveaway in South Philadelphia.

Additionally, TreeKeepers would like to continue to develop partnerships with local groups whom are interested in the beautification projects and proper maintenance of their beloved local park site. Here’s a testimonial from one of these happy neighbors: “Friends of Kemble Park . . . would like to Thank the [TreeKeepers] for a magnificent job of revitalizing our park. Words are inadequate to describe the overwhelming appearance that Kemble Park took as a result of the in-depth pruning of trees and clearing of old logs removed from the interior and exterior of the park.”

Do you or your group want to work with the TreeKeepers? For more information, find us on Facebook or contact us at!

Transplanting at 33rd and Diamond 2

Members of the 2013 TreeKeepers work on relocating a small tree at Mander Playground.

Planting at the Hort Center

The 2013 TreeKeepers crew transplant a young Beech tree at the Fairmount Horticulture Center.

Training the Power Corps

2013 TreeKeeper Micah leads new city program Power Corps in a lesson in proper pruning.

philly tree keepers

Some of the 2013 TreeKeepers pose for quick photo after being interviewed by a Penn Landscape Architecture student.

Praise for TreeKeepers

“I am contacting you on behalf of the entire board of the Friends of Marconi Plaza. We just wanted to let you know that we are really thrilled at the results of the groups work- not only are the trees healthier but when they are clearly pruned and mulched it seems to keep the vandals at bay- which otherwise is a problem that plagues us . . . I just wanted to say thanks, and we hope budgets allow this program to continue!

Friends of Marconi Plaza”

“Thank you so much for the tree work you recently did at Starr Garden! The park looks amazing! As one of the founders of Starr Garden Neighbors, I can attest that we are committed to constantly improving our neighborhood gem, Philadelphia’s oldest playground. The work you did with the trees, and the training you gave us, is largely appreciated and will only inspire us to further beautify our park! Thank you again!”

THANK YOU again!!!!
Starr Garden Neighbors”

“I wanted to send you a quick email thanking you for the tree trimming at Starr Garden. The place is looking great with some help from local volunteers but we needed your effort to handle some big improvements. Please keep up with good work. I also say that you did some similar work at Palumbo – again thanks.”

Regards –
Neighbor of Starr Garden and Mother of 4 year old who uses both play spaces a lot!”

  • Welcome

    TreePhilly connects Philadelphia residents with the resources they need to plant and care for trees and to grow our urban forest.

    TreePhilly Program
    Philadelphia Parks & Recreation
    One Parkway, 10th Floor
    1515 Arch Street
    Philadelphia, PA 19102
    P: 215.683.0217
    F: 215.683.0205

    For questions about street trees (trees in the sidewalk along the street):
    215 685 4363
  • Flickr Photos

    Tree Philly April 18th, 2015 (1)

    Tree Philly April 18th, 2015 (2)

    Tree Philly April 18th, 2015 (3)

    Tree Philly April 18th, 2015 (4)

    Tree Philly April 18th, 2015 (5)

    Tree Philly April 18th, 2015 (6)

    Tree Philly April 18th, 2015 (7)

    Tree Philly April 18th, 2015 (8)

    Tree Philly April 18th, 2015 (9)

    Tree Philly April 18th, 2015 (10)

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