The TreePhilly Team

Lori Hayes, Director of Urban Forestry

Lori Hayes

Director of Urban Forestry

As the leader of Philadelphia’s urban forestry efforts, Lori oversees many projects, including the TreePhilly Program, street tree planting and maintenance, and park tree maintenance. Lori started working for PPR in 1981 and has served a number of roles since then, including Landscape Project Technician, Park District Manager, and North Regional Manager. Lori has a BS in Horticulture from Temple University. She frequently volunteers at events and workshops to educate the public about trees.

Erica Smith Fichman, TreePhilly Program Manager

Erica Smith Fichman

Community Forestry Manager

Erica joined PP&R in 2011 to develop an urban forestry outreach and education program. Working with the Urban Forestry staff, they launched the highly successful TreePhilly Program in 2012, which includes the Yard Tree Giveaway Program, as well as other programs to encourage street tree planting and volunteer tree plantings in parks and recreation centers. Currently she serves as the project team lead for the Philly Tree Plan. Erica has a BS in Biology from Haverford College and an MS in Environmental Horticulture from the University of California, Davis, and she is an ISA Certified Arborist. She also serves on the board of UC Green in West Philadelphia.

Jack Braunstein

TreePhilly Program Manager

With a focus on neighborhood-level community forestry, Jack manages tree planting, planning and care programs at TreePhilly, including our Community Yard Tree Giveaway Program. His goal is to empower residents to nurture deeper relationships with the land and each other in everyday life. Jack has a B.A. in Geography and a B.S. in Natural Resource Planning from the University of Vermont. He lives in West Philly, loves jazz and likes gardening.

Lee Scottlorde

TreePhilly Community Forestry Coordinator

Lee Scottlorde joined the TreePhilly Program at the Fairmount Park Conservancy in November 2020. In their role as the Tree Philly program coordinator, Lee coordinates and implements the Community Yard Tree Giveaway Program with a focus on community engagement and environmental justice and also supports collaborations within Fairmount Park Conservancy programs and initiatives. Lee is excited to assist in increasing equity and centering diverse community voices in urban forestry. Lee brings to the Conservancy eight years of community wellness and advocacy experience. They are a health justice advocate, member of Get Healthy Philly’s Health Justice Leadership team, America Walks 2020 Walking College fellow, former nature coach for University of Pennsylvania and organizer for Girltrek, the nation’s largest public health organization for Black Women and Girls. Through all of these experiences, Lee has witnessed the positive health impact of nature in communities and aims to make sure all Philadelphians have access to this healing modality.

Marisa Wilson

Urban Forestry Community Organizer

Marisa works to support and organize community members to build capacity for tree planting and care in their neighborhoods. She supported the community engagement process for the Philly Tree Plan in 2020-22, and originally joined the TreePhilly team as a Program Assistant for the Neighborhood Park Tree Inventory Project. Marisa brings with her experience researching community-based climate resilience, organizing around racial and environmental justice, and working in urban planning. She holds a B.S. in Biology and Environmental Social Science from Davidson College.

Kate Illes

TreePhilly Program Coordinator

Kate is an assistant coordinator with the TreePhilly Yard Tree Giveaway Program. She studied English and Gender Studies at Rutgers, then found her way to gardening through mentors, friends and great books. She has expressed her deep love of Philadelphia by caring for public green spaces, tending historic gardens, and coordinating community-lead food sovereignty projects. Now, she’s grateful to share her enthusiasm by helping empower communities to build and maintain thriving, healthy neighborhoods. Kate loves cooking for friends, listening to old music, trying new flavors and swimming.

Joesph Caesar

TreeKeepers Crew Leader

Joe got started in 1998 as a community organizer for a faith-based greening initiative. To expand on these skills, in 2002 he got a master’s degree focusing on community economic development. Now, he leads TreeKeepers, a workforce development tree maintenance group. As an organizer, Joe held meetings with community members to understand their priorities and helped them create trails and viewing areas for the community. He found that crime went down 87% in the places they revitalized, and he realized what an important tool beautification and landscape maintenance work is to promote safety.

The TreeKeepers

Philadelphia Parks & Recreation’s TreeKeepers keep the trees and green spaces in our neighborhood parks, playgrounds, and recreation centers in beautiful shape! Launched in 2011, this workforce maintenance crew prunes trees, removes invasive vines and plant overgrowth in natural areas, and helps to maintain stormwater planters at PPR properties across the city. TreeKeepers have also led tree plantings at schools, led volunteer groups in proper pruning and tree care techniques, and, of course, helped out at dozens of TreePhilly’s biannual yard tree giveaways! We’re growing closer each day to developing this program to employ our workers as full-time keepers of our green spaces and millions of city trees.

Tree Keepers Tree Keepers

The TreeKeepers crew also serves as a workforce development program. An entry-level position for individuals interested in landscape management, the TreeKeepers program is committed to supporting ex-offenders in securing meaningful work and successfully re-entering the community, as well as helping those who are simply un- or underemployed. TreeKeepers provides training and education on arboriculture methods and landscape maintenance, and actively works to support crew members in pursuing full-time careers in related fields.

Thank You Notes

We just wanted to let you know that we are really thrilled with the results of the group’s 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

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The Arborists of

Philadelphia Parks & Recreation

The Arborists of Philadelphia Parks & Recreation’s Urban Forestry & Ecosystem Management divisions are charged with the care of the trees on 10,250 acres of park land, and the 117,000 trees along the city streets. These men and women are passionate, hardworking, and proud of the work they do to keep Philadelphia’s trees healthy and its citizens safe. For this project, photographer Sabina Louise Pierce worked with the TreePhilly program to capture the special relationship between Philadelphia Parks & Recreation arborists, the trees they care for, and the tools of their trade.

A Word from the Artist

“When I was asked by TreePhilly
to shoot portraits
of Philadelphia’s Arborists as a freebie,
I said sure!
I love trees,
I love Philly.
Little did I know was how much the people
that worked with them loved them too.
Some have master’s degrees and all could
make more in the private sector
but they do this because they love trees too!”

Sabina Louise Pierce
Lover of trees and nature.