It was mild and sunny on April 25, a perfect day for planting trees. What better day to do it? After all, it was Arbor Day. What better place to do it than at St. Hubert High School for Girls on Torresdale Avenue? The symbolism was obvious. St. Hubert’s is a school that has grown, shown resilience and, yes, some toughness.
It was a great place to plant the 300,000th tree in a program geared toward planting 700,000 more in and around Philadelphia.
Students in their dark brown uniforms lined up on the steps of the school’s main entrance as dignitaries spoke about the need to restore the region’s trees that have been lost to decades of development. Friday’s event was part of the Plant One Million project that is responsible for concentrated tree plantings, according to Pennsylvania Horticultural Society president Drew Becher.
One-hundred thousand of the project’s 300,000 trees have been planted in Philadelphia since 2011, said Joan Blaustein, director of urban forestry and ecosystem management at the Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation. Twenty-five percent were planted by volunteers, she added.
Kathryn Ott Lovell, St. Hubert’s ‘92, called for a show of “Bambi spirit” from the applauding students. Lovell, executive director of the Fairmount Park Conservancy, is one of the Hubert’s alums who led the charge to save the school when the archdiocese threatened to close it two years ago.
The school, she said, “is the perfect place to plant these trees.”
“We are building our city and planting trees for a more sustainable future,” she said.
Twenty-two trees were set to be planted Friday and the next day. April 25’s stars were two redbuds, trees that have showy purple-pink flowers each spring.
The new trees will be a great addition to the many already on the school’s property, said Francis Farrell, St. Hubert president.
Part of the push to plant a million trees has been handled by Northeast Philadelphia Tree Tenders, who have helped residents and volunteers put thousands of trees into the ground.
Tree tender Hasan Malik said Friday that the organization is getting ready for a fall tree giveaway. Residents can arrange for free trees for the street or their yards, Malik said.
Applying is easy. Visit www.treenortheast.org, or call Hassan at 215-694-9607. ••