ReLeaf plans growing; taking shape
Tree Pittsburgh’s ReLeaf program brings urban forest planning to a neighborhood level. ReLeaf is currently a two-year program that involves volunteer, education, and outreach opportunities to promote, protect, and grow the urban forest in neighborhoods that are low canopy and have been historically underserved. Understanding the diverse needs, wants, and opportunities within Pittsburgh’s individual neighborhoods allows for unique ReLeaf plans to be designed for each community’s urban forest.
ReLeaf Lawrenceville set the stage in 2014 with tree care events, tree plantings, educational engagements, and community gatherings. Lawrenceville was selected as the first site for our ReLeaf work due to the low tree canopy, which resulted in elevated temperatures and a need for increased canopy coverage to combat poor air quality. Additionally, Lawrenceville residents are actively engaged in volunteer opportunities which provided a strong base for the opportunities within ReLeaf.
ReLeaf Manchester-Chateau in 2015 was the next phase in the neighborhood initiative. Manchester-Chateau was chosen for ReLeaf because of the urban heat island effect directly related to the low tree canopy. In 2010, Pittsburgh’s average street temperature was 96.6℉ while Manchester-Chateau reached an average of 99.5℉. Due to the large commercial footprint in Manchester-Chateau, it was clear that a plan and directed efforts from a program like ReLeaf would be beneficial to the needs and wants of the community.
As Tree Pittsburgh gears up to kick off the newest plan, ReLeaf Hazelwood, we are taking the time to evaluate the challenges and opportunities of previous ReLeaf plans and further their implementation. These reports help direct continued efforts within the communities to ensure long term goals are being met. Additionally, evaluating previous plans allows for growth and adjustments to future plans for a streamlined process such as in Hazelwood. The community’s Greater Hazelwood Neighborhood Plan addressed the neighborhood’s poor air quality and increased temperatures, which made Hazelwood a perfect partner for ReLeaf. Efforts to increase the urban forest of Hazelwood will help address both of these issues. ReLeaf Hazelwood kicked off with their first tree care day in June of 2021 with other programs on the horizon such as Tree Adoption dates this fall and into 2022.
Current published ReLeaf plans can be accessed online at https://issuu.com/treepittsburgh .