UC Green spring planting

UC Green tree planting

WHAT: Initially created by Penn in 1999, UC Green is now an independent nonprofit community greening program. The group’s Pruning Club program cares for selected blocks around University City each season and trains volunteers during the summer in proper tree trimming techniques. UC Green also runs the UC Green Corps, a youth employment group, and each spring hosts tree plantings to beautify the neighborhood.

WHERE: The organization is located at 4613 Woodland Ave. Its work covers areas throughout West and Southwest Philadelphia.

SPRING IS IN THE AIR: UC Green is holding three tree plantings this spring: Saturday, April 25, at Malcolm X Park, located at 52nd Street and Osage Avenue; Wednesday, April 29, at Boys Latin School at 55th Street and Cedar Avenue; and Saturday, May 2, at Saunders Park, located between 39th Street, Powelton Avenue and Baring Street. All plantings run from 9 a.m. to noon. Volunteers receive lunch and a UC Green T-shirt.

TREE EXPERTS AND NOVICES: Susan Pringle, UC Green’s executive director, says volunteers of all kinds show up to plant trees. “Most people have never planted a tree before,” she says. “Everyone can go out and have a good time. It’s a win-win.” During each planting, expert Tree Tenders are on hand to show volunteers how to properly dig a hole and situate trees in the ground.

PEOPLE POWER: UC Green is powered by the strength of its volunteers—including Penn, Drexel and University of the Sciences students and year-round West Philly residents. For the tree planting on April 25, Pringle says UC Green already has a group signed up that’s 300 strong.

‘URBAN LOAM’: Pringle says digging in the city can uncover some hidden treasures—and plenty of junk. “Urban loam is a mixture of concrete and doll heads and tree stumps,” she jokes. The challenges don’t end with the digging; once the trees are in the ground, they must survive poor soil, dog urine and smacks from car doors.

GUIDANCE FROM FAIRMOUNT: UC Green sticks to a list of trees provided by the Fairmount Park Commission, including flowering cherry or honeying locust varieties.

REQUEST A TREE: If you’re a West or Southwest Philadelphia resident, you can ask UC Green to help beautify your street, yard, park or other public space—at no cost. Property owners should print out and complete a “Property Owner Request to Plant a Street Tree in Philadelphia” form, found on UC Green’s website (www.ucgreen.org).

MORE INFO: For details on the spring planting days and other UC Green programs, visit the website at www.ucgreen.org or call 215-573-4684.

Originally published on March 26, 2009