ReLeaf plans growing; taking shape

 In Blog, ReLeaf, ReLeaf Hazelwood, ReLeaf Lawrenceville, ReLeaf Manchester

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 .

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