The 2023 planting seasons will be the most ambitious yet for the Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership, to directly fund and plant over 300,000 new trees for Pennsylvania this spring and add another 200,000 in the fall.
The effort reached its midpoint milestone last October when the 5 millionth tree was planted at Furnace Run Park in Franklin County.
Since it launched 2018, the partnership, coordinated by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, has grown to nearly 300 partners. New partnership manager Joe Hallinan is confident that reaching the 10-million tree goal by 2025 is achievable. “With the commitment shown by our partners, both new and old, I’d like to believe we can exceed that,” Hallinan said.
The 2023 campaign got into full swing in late March, with a massive delivery of trees and shrubs at Lancaster Farm and Home. In mid-April, approximately 14,000 trees were planted at the former sand quarries at Furnace Run Park. Earth Day and Arbor Day observances in April are also prime times for tree plantings throughout the Commonwealth.
Roughly 28,000 miles of Pennsylvania’s rivers and streams are damaged by polluted runoff and the legacy of coal mining. Trees are the most cost-effective tools for cleaning and protecting waterways. Trees filter and absorb polluted runoff, stabilize streambanks, and improve soil quality. Trees also help address climate change by cooling the air and sequestering carbon.
“We often don’t think about the positive effects that trees have on a community, local economies, and the physical and mental health of our residents,” Hallinan said. “Students learn better, patients heal faster, and our minds are less anxious when we have access to outdoor green space.”
The Commonwealth’s Clean Water Blueprint calls for about 95,000 acres of forested buffers to be planted in Pennsylvania’s portion of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Adding 10 million new trees alongside streams, streets, and other priority landscapes would accelerate the Keystone State toward its clean water goals, achieving as much as two-thirds of the forested buffer goal.
The partnership is placing special emphasis on plantings in Lancaster County and four other counties in southcentral Pennsylvania. Those counties are critical because of the amount of nitrogen pollution generated. Those counties are also where the greatest need meets greatest opportunity, both to improve local stream health and reverse the overall loss of trees.
“The trees are one of the biggest bangs for the buck for cleaning water, but I think they are even bigger in a sense of how we can look at how we interact with our natural world,” Hallinan said. “By planting trees today, we can leave our communities a better place for our children and grandchildren.”
To learn more about the Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership visit www.TenMillionTrees.org.