Some Mon Valley communities on board with TreeVitalize program
It's easy to take trees for granted. They're part of the scenery in most parts of the planet, though not all locales are equally endowed.
Urbanized areas by their very nature tend to come up short on trees and greenery.
Re-establishing flora in areas where concrete and buildings dominate presents problems that a squirrel randomly hiding acorns is likely to solve.
“We're doing our homework,” said Jim Butler of McKeesport, who is one of three residents endeavoring to re-establish the city's long dormant shade tree commission.
The reformation of the commission — which Butler said was founded in 1924 — is one of several formal efforts going on to bring more greenery to this part of the Mon Valley.
Bringing back the commission was done primarily so the city could apply to Western Pennsylvania Conservancy's TreeVitalize program. The group submitted its application earlier this month.
The TreeVitalize program has planted more than 20,000 trees since its founding in 2008, and local conditions appear favorable for continued growth.
Like McKeesport, West Homestead has submitted an application to the program this month with hopes of being accepted for a round of fall plantings.
The borough appointed a shade tree commission to fulfill a requirement of the application process.
West Homestead and TreeVitalize representatives already have identified park areas near Calhoun Ballfield and the fire station for tree plantings.
TreeVitalize has plans to work with Glassport, Wilmerding and Pleasant Hills to identify potential areas for trees in those communities, according to Marah Vecenie of TreeVitalize. She said the assessment is being done in advance of a fall application deadline for the program.
“Trees increase property value,” said Vecenie, who noted participating communities can get 25 trees for free, provided they fall within the organization's median income guidelines. TreeVitalize uses 150 different varieties of trees from locally sourced nurseries based on the needs of a site.
“We make sure it's a worthwhile spot,” Vecenie said.
The program has installed containerized trees in industrialized areas, and Vecenie said having support from local government and trained volunteers who look after the trees is essential.
“We get really close and we help them develop tree ordinances,” she said. “We make sure care is given to trees. We want to make sure the trees live.”
Hopes are high in West Homestead that the borough will be accepted this year into the TreeVitalize program.
Just this week, the community was recognized as a silver level member of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Sustainable Community Essentials Certification program.
The award, from Sustainable Pittsburgh, recognizes municipalities that deploy sustainability policies and practices.
In McKeesport, Butler said he is getting support from city hall for his efforts and that the commission is looking first to plant trees in the vicinity of the new Twin Rivers Primary/Intermediate School complex, an area that has been dubbed the Cultural and Educational Sector.
“There are a lot of trees that have died up there,” said Butler, who has received training from TreeVitalize. “We feel if we concentrate in a tight geographic area and show impact, it will grow.”
Other members of the shade tree commission in McKeesport are Leon Coleman and Nancy Merriman.
Eric Slagle is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- West Mifflin prepares for first day of school
- Duquesne City School District set to dive into Common Core
- South Allegheny directors approve purchase of 120 Chromebooks
- Surprise jump in students forces hiring at Elizabeth Forward schools
- Munhall council president says layoffs possible
- Lack of lawyers delays preliminary hearings in 2 gun cases
- White Oak school starts foreign language academy program
- West Mifflin loses KaBOOM! playground bid
- McKeesport Area revamps website, joins social media
- Allegheny County seeks proposals for redevelopment in Duquesne
- Pleasant Hills plans farm animal ban