Tree Pittsburgh builds new, sustainable Education Center and campus
Today, Tree Pittsburgh announced plans to expand its reach throughout the community and increase its capacity to deliver more trees. If you’d like to help us reach our $2.6 Million goal, donate to our Growing for the Future campaign.
Joined by Mayor William Peduto, supporters, and partners, the environmental nonprofit organization revealed that it will grow its Heritage Nursery and build a brand new Education Center.
“We are ‘putting down roots’ at our new location, where we’ll be able to expand our tree nursery operation to better support local tree planting efforts,” said Danielle Crumrine, executive director, Tree Pittsburgh. “In light of our recent findings that the County is losing tree canopy, we quickly jumped to action. We are taking bold steps to bolster local efforts to grow our urban forest and activate others to contribute.”
The Heritage Nursery was established on three vacant lots in North Point Breeze in 2011. In response to a growing demand for tree planting and forest stewardship across the County, Tree Pittsburgh worked with partners to begin a plan for expansion of the nursery in 2015. The new Heritage Nursery sits on a five-acre vacant area along the Allegheny River directly under the 62nd Street Bridge.
“We love that Tree Pittsburgh chose a location right on the riverfront for the expansion of their nursery and their new Education Center, and that the project will provide public access to the river,” said Vivien Li, president and CEO, Riverlife. “This admirable example of environmental and riverfront stewardship will spark excitement for continued sustainable riverfront development in Pittsburgh’s future.”
The plan for the expansion of the tree nursery, which is the former site of Tippins’ Steel Mill, includes installing infrastructure for up to 100,000 tree seedlings. A new greenhouse and four high tunnels have already been built on the site with plans for gradual expansion in the coming years.
Tree Pittsburgh’s new Education Center building is designed to achieve LEED Platinum and Net-zero Energy certifications. The building will operate from 100% solar power thanks to sponsorship from Green Mountain Energy’s Sun Club and the Penelec Sustainable Energy Fund. Also, 100% of rainfall runoff will be collected from the roof, thanks to a grant from the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority, to irrigate the landscape. The building, designed by GBBN Architects and built by Jendoco Construction, will house Tree Pittsburgh’s staff offices, but will also serve as a space for the community of all ages to engage in volunteer and educational activities and learn about the importance of trees, beginning with an educational camp for local kids this summer.
“Our tree canopy is a critical piece of urban infrastructure that contributes to our quality of life as well as the environmental and economic health of our communities. We need organizations like Tree Pittsburgh to engage the public in tree planting and stewardship so that our canopy can mature and deliver those benefits for generations to come,” said Mayor William Peduto. “Not only that, their new Education Center is a great example of how we can use our riverfronts to teach and inspire the public to care for our natural resources.”
The Education Center will be complete in July and Tree Pittsburgh will host an open house for the community in September. Planting in the nursery has already begun and will continue throughout the spring. It is Tree Pittsburgh’s goal to distribute and plant 4,000 trees across Allegheny County in 2018 to help grow the city’s tree canopy.