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Greening the South Side: Residents Plant Nearly Two Dozen Street Trees

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

South Side Tree Planting Program

South Side will begin to look greener in the spring thanks to Kim Collins.

Back in March, she and a friend were talking over wine one night, trying to think of something they could do in their community. “And we came up with trees,” says Collins. “I live on Wharton Street and there was, like, one tree on my block.”

Collins, who is the owner and creative director of South Side-based graphic design firm Blue Tomato, worked to create the South Side Pittsburgh Tree Project with the help of neighbors and nearly 45 volunteers.

In October, they planted 21 trees ranging from maples to lilacs on the 1900 block of Wharton Street.

To start the project, Collins researched and found the TreeVitalize program, a partnership between five organizations including the city, county and state and two nonprofits, including the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. The goal of the program, according to its website, is to “plant 20,000 trees by 2012 throughout the Pittsburgh region in order to improve quality of life and the environment.”

Once assisted by TreeVitalize, Collins and other leaders went door-to-door asking residents if they would water and take care of trees if the South Side Pittsburgh Tree Project took care of planting. Twenty-one residents agreed to this arrangement for the first planting.

Riverset Credit Union aided the project by paying for the website and marketing, as well as a banner on Sarah and 11th Streets that asks, “Want A Free Tree?”

The South Side Pittsburgh Tree Project wants add at least 300 to 400 more trees in the South Side over the next four years.

Currently, 4,500 trees have been planted in Allegheny County through TreeVitalize.

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Writer: Pop City Staff
Source: Kim Collins, South Side Pittsburgh Tree Project

Image courtesy of South Side Pittsburgh Tree Project

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