Esperanza Housing and Economic Development (EHED) and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) partnered to host Philadelphia’s first bilingual Tree Tenders training in English and Spanish last week. The training equips Philadelphians to plant and care for urban trees, covering topics like watering and pruning, with the goal of increasing tree coverage throughout the city. The first session was held at Esperanza on Wednesday, Apr. 4, and the second session took place on Saturday, Apr. 7.
Over the course of both sessions, over 30 neighbors learned about tree biology and care from experts at PHS who have trained thousands of Philadelphians and facilitated the planting of more than 2,000 trees annually across the city. In the afternoon during the Saturday session, the newly trained and certified Tree Tenders planted 16 trees on W. Cayuga Street, just blocks from Esperanza’s campus. The residents of the block, several of whom participated in the training, are committed to caring for the trees and doing their best to make sure they thrive in their new homes.
“I just imagine ten years from now how beautiful this block will look,” said Gabriella Paez, the Education and Community Development Coordinator at Esperanza who organized the training with PHS. “It’s creating a long-term beautification plan for the neighborhood.”
The presence of healthy urban street trees has been linked to a number of individual and community benefits, including cleaner air and water, improved mental health, and energy savings, since their shade cools down streets and homes and reduces the need for air conditioning.
We are confident that the new Tree Tenders will be diligent in making sure their saplings grow into vibrant trees. We are extraordinarily grateful to PHS for offering their time and expertise, and to the new Tree Tenders for taking ownership of transforming their blocks and our neighborhood in small but important ways!