A new campaign called “Re-Tree the Avenue” is raising money to line over 70 areas along Germantown Avenue and Bethlehem Pike in Chestnut Hill with trees.
A committee deciding where the trees will go, and what types of trees will be used, comprises of members of community organizations including award-winning Morris Arboretum director Paul Meyer, landscape architect David Edgar of SED Design Studio and Joe Ascenzi of Laurel Hill Gardens.
The campaign itself is part of the Green Space Initiative, a community fund that was used for fundraising projects for two community events four years ago. The remaining $50,000 was then saved with the purpose of greening Chestnut Hill, with a specific focus on restoring the canopy along Germantown Ave.
Along with other arborists, the group evaluated the areas based on gaps in the existing tree canopy while being mindful of state and city regulations. They evaluated appropriate distances from corners, driveways and utility poles as well as overhead wires.
Celeste Hardester of the Chestnut Hill Community Association said there are many trees in Chestnut Hill that are remarkable for their size and species.
“One of the things that I love most about trees is that they are such a gift to future generations,” she said.
“When you look at a large, mature and magnificent specimen, you have to remind yourself that the person who went to the trouble of planting it never saw what you are seeing,” she continued.
The committee has plans to plant a variety of species. Hardester says they need to mix species so there will be a visual impact in the tree clusters, without having too many of the same species in one area.
A community effort
As fundraising may continue in phases, based on community interest and initiative, volunteers will be key. The Pennsylvania Horticulture Society will conduct semi-annual Tree-Tender training programs that can help anyone interested gain some expertise.
Trees will be planted beginning in the fall.
“It is a visionary gift, and one that I believe more and more people can come to appreciate,” said Hardester.
Tree-tender groups exist throughout Philadelphia, but Chestnut Hill groups will become active in the spring. Those interested can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (215) 148-8810.