CRC is proud of our past and current tree planting program. Since 2005, CRC, our volunteers, and partners, have planted nearly 8,000 trees and shrubs in riparian and upland areas to slow and reduce stormwater runoff, reduce erosion and sediment load to our streams, filter groundwater, provide habitat, and increase shade reducing invasives and improving the overall watershed health. We see so much more growth for this program due to municipal need and community interest that we will be planning and conducting large tree installations for years to come.
However, two areas that impact the sustainability and long-term health of our tree plantings, that are not well funded, relate to the maintenance of our existing plantings and the removal and management of invasive species in our local open spaces and parks. To address this gap, CRC has initiated a program to create year-round volunteer events that will focus on maintenance and invasives management. In this way, not only will CRC’s volunteers be improving the survivability of our tree plantings, we will also be improving the regional health of the watershed through the removal of invasives and the encouragement of native species.
We continue to be supported generously by the State of Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, as well as a number of local corporations and foundations. Using these funds, we have had large plantings in Smedley Park, Upper Providence Township; Serpentine Preserve, Willistown Township; Cheyney University; and Darlington Trail, Middletown Township. Private foundations that have also supported these plantings include the Boy Scouts of America, the Martin Foundation, and another unanimous giver. TreeVitalize through the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society also provided funding to support some of our plantings.
Finally, CRC has established a “Tree Planting Fund” that takes donations specifically for the purpose of planting and maintaining trees and shrubs. This program, started at the 2016 CRC Annual Awards Dinner, leverages $20 individual donations to plant trees without being encumbered by the rigors of public or private foundation reporting. For example, a tree planting in Swarthmore’s Little Crum Creek Park, funded through a Delaware County Conservation District (DCCD) mini-grant and donations from the Swarthmore Centennial Fund and the grassroots “Move the Needle” campaign in Swarthmore which went directly into the CRC Tree Planting Fund, placed about 40 trees and shrubs at this location at a fraction of the cost of other CRC programs. We hope to be expanding this to build our capacity and create more opportunities for our volunteers.