Citizen Tree Project

What is the Citizen Tree Project?

Thanks to a generous grant from 3 Rivers Wet Weather, and to kick off the release of our new Watershed Forest Master Plan, NMRWA is working with watershed community members to plant at least 100 new trees on private property this fall and next spring.

Why the Citizen Tree Project

The Watershed Forest Master Plan is the product of numerous meetings, hundreds of surveys, a professional tree inventory, and years of experience in and around the watershed. The goal of the Master Plan is to help us address the troubling loss of tree canopy in our watershed. Over the last few years NMRWA has planted hundreds of trees in the public right of way. While many many of our trees have outlived the average 7 year lifespan of a street tree, we’ll be more able to address tree canopy loss within the watershed by planting trees on private property where trees face fewer challenges. In order to reverse the trend of tree canopy loss on a greater scale, we are hoping to expand our from our community’s streets to our community’s yards as well.
The future of the watershed, however, is up to its citizens, and we invite you to join us in achieving our goals and to help increase tree canopy, reduce runoff, and clean our air. Beginning with a pilot project for Swissvale residents this Fall, and following up with an event for residents of Wilkinsburg and Edgewood this Spring, we will be providing at least 100 trees to community members who agree to work with us over the next two years to help establish and care for a new tree on their property. We hope that by engaging with a tree you planted on your own property you will become an advocate for tree health and sustaining our urban forest for years to come.

How to get involved in the Citizen Tree Project

Our first tree distribution occurred in late Fall 2018, where recipients were paired with a reasonably site-specific tree, and attended a tree planting and care workshop. Additional workshops are being planned for Edgewood, Wilkinsburg, and Swissvale in the Spring!
To be eligible to receive a tree, this Fall homeowners must:
– Live in Swissvale, Wilkinsburg, or Edgewood
– Have previously planted a tree OR attend our planting workshop
– Agree to complete four online tree health evaluations over two years
– Agree to two in-person tree check-ups by our Urban Forestry Coordinator over the course of two years
– Agree to plant the tree on private property within one week of receiving the tree
– Agree to maintain and care for your tree
– Pay $10 non-refundable deposit to reserve your tree

What you get from the Citizen Tree Project

The first 100 people will receive:
– A reasonably site specific tree, from one of six different species.
– A bucket to assist with watering
– One cubic foot of mulch to help with establishment
– Access to our network of volunteers to assist with tree planting if necessary
– A packet of tree care information
– One-two site visits from NMRWA staff to assess your tree’s health
– Occasional information regarding tree advocacy in and around the region
– The long-term benefits of having a tree such as: reduced energy usage, improved air quality, shade, stormwater runoff reduction, and a view of spring flowers, fall colors, and wildlife.


To join the Citizen Tree Project, register here
Contact Urban Forestry Coordinator, Jan Raether, with any questions you might have. Jan@ninemilerun.org or 412-371-8779 ext. 116

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