Residents Can Learn to Plant, Care for Trees with TreeVitalize Training Sessions

HARRISBURG – TreeVitalize—an initiative to plant one million trees and restore tree cover in Pennsylvania’s 14 metropolitan areas—is offering citizens the opportunity to learn about planting and caring for trees, according to Department of Conservation and Natural Resources acting Secretary John Quigley.

“Trees, like people, need to be nurtured to thrive,” Quigley said. “Many urban street trees die within the first seven years of planting. These classes will teach people how to help our investments in trees to survive.” 

During eight hours of Tree Tenders® training, participants will learn about tree biology, identification, pruning and root care, as well as how to raise funds, manage volunteers and work with local government.

“Pennsylvania has seen the loss of millions of trees in our urban and suburban areas, and we each have a role to play if we want to turn that around,” Quigley said.

The Tree Tenders training program was developed by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society in collaboration with Penn State Extension Urban Foresters in the Philadelphia area. It is now being offered with instruction provided by DCNR’s Bureau of Forestry, in partnership with PHS, Penn State, and other local urban forestry experts.  

Participants are expected to volunteer time to community tree planting projects in exchange for the training. 

Registration for all classes is required. Classes are being held this spring in Pittsburgh; Blue Bell, Montgomery County; Havertown, Delaware County; and the City of Philadelphia.

Workshops also will be offered later this summer in Altoona, York, Easton and Wilkes-Barre. 

For the first time this year, TreeVitalize also is offering training beyond Tree Tenders, called the Municipal Tree Institute. 

Developed by Penn State Cooperative Extension in partnership with DCNR, the institute will be an intensive two-day workshop intended for municipal staff, current and prospective Shade Tree Commission members and others responsible for the long term care and management of public shade trees. 

The program will provide training and support on shade tree ordinances, inventories, management plans and budgeting necessary to effectively manage public trees. The first institute will be offered May 20-21 in the Pittsburgh area, with a second one under development for the fall in the Allentown area. 

For a Tree Tenders schedule and to register, visit the TreeVitalize Web site at and look under

“TreeVitalize Events.” Registration also is required for the Municipal Tree Institute workshop, details of which will be posted on the Web site when available.

DCNR spearheads the TreeVitalize project with many public and private partners.  The program works to revitalize urban areas by increasing tree cover with a goal of 1 million new trees planted statewide by 2012. More than 186,000 trees have been planted to date. Tree cover refers to the percentage of land shaded by trees and shrubs. 

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