Azavea Starts First PHS Tree Tenders Business Chapter in Philadelphia

By Dan Ford on May 26th, 2017

Azavea cleans the base of an existing tree as part of the first PHS Tree Tender business chapter planting day

Azavea software engineers, data analysts, and product specialists traded their computers for shovels for a morning of tree planting on May 24th. Azavea, in partnership with Arts & Crafts Holdings and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS), started the first PHS Tree Tenders Business Chapter.

PHS has trained volunteer Tree Tenders since 1993 to encourage communities to plant and care for the trees in their neighborhood. Tree Tenders are typically organized according to the geographic area they serve, but Deb Boyer, Project Manager of the Urban Ecosystems Team at Azavea, saw an opportunity for businesses to get involved in street tree care and coordinated with PHS and Arts & Crafts Holdings to organize the planting event.

Similar to an Adopt-A-Highway program, Azavea will care for their section of street trees, regularly watering the trees and keeping an eye on tree health.

Azavea and PHS staff planted two English oak trees and one yellowwood tree on the 900 block of Spring Garden Street in the Spring Arts neighborhood.

Azavea planted 2 English oak trees on Spring Garden Street as part of the first PHS Tree Tender business chapter planting day

Azavea planted a yellowwood tree on Spring Garden Street as part of the first PHS Tree Tender business chapter planting day
Azavea planted 3 trees on Spring Garden Street as part of the first PHS Tree Tender business chapter planting day

PHS contractors visited the site earlier in the week to cut and remove the cement at one of the planting locations. Azavea employees began the morning by unloading a delivery of trees.

Azavea and PHS unload trees for the first PHS Tree Tender business chapter planting day

Azavea and PHS unload trees for the first PHS Tree Tender business chapter planting day

Then it was time to start digging.

Azavea digs holes for trees as part of the first PHS Tree Tender business chapter planting day

Azavea and PHS employees dug three holes for the trees: one on either side of the north entrance to 990 Spring Garden, and one near the trestle, or former Reading Railroad overpass.

Azavea uses pick axe to dig hole as part of the first PHS Tree Tender business chapter planting day
Jess Cahail uses a pick axe to dig a hole as part of the first PHS Tree Tender business chapter planting day

A PHS photographer captured the scene as Azavea employees worked, and 6abc Action News stopped by to film some footage of the planting effort that will help to green the neighborhood.

A photographer captures the scene as Azavea employees work during the PHS Tree Tender business chapter planting day

Azavea plants tree as part of the first PHS Tree Tender business chapter planting day

The holes were backfilled once the trees were placed and the soil at the base of the trees was covered with mulch. Azavea employees learned proper planting technique like how to measure depth of holes, how to mulch around trees, and how to water the plants.

Azavea poses with new tree as part of the first PHS Tree Tender business chapter planting day
Azavea and PHS pose with new tree as part of the first PHS Tree Tender Business Chapter planting day

This effort was part of the PHS-led Plant One Million campaign to restore the region’s tree canopy.

Arts & Crafts Holdings, the new Azavea Tree Tenders group, and PHS will work closely to identify future tree planting locations in the Spring Arts neighborhood. The group hopes to serve as a model for future business greening groups.

If your company wants to become a Tree Tenders Business Chapter, contact PHS to start planting!