Youth Tree Crew & Neighborhood Tree Plantings

Trees as restorative justice

Working with neighbors to plant and maintain community trees is vital to the future health of Southwest Philadelphia.

Tree Crew Interns, members of the Southwest Tree Coalition, program partners, and Bartram’s Garden staff in June 2023. Photograph courtesy David Schneck/Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.

Why care for neighborhood trees?

Although the 50 acres of Bartram’s Garden contain many significant and beautiful trees, appropriate levels of tree canopy are not present in many areas of the city, including our Southwest Philadelphia neighborhood. Trees are an integral part of our city’s infrastructure and should be treated as such. The presence of trees in a community improves environmental health, physical health, and mental health; having trees in a neighborhood also correlates to reduced crime rates and protection against urban blight.

Systemic racism has devastated landscapes, rural and urban alike. Cities have suffered enormous amounts of air, water, and noise pollution, with ensuing negative impacts on health and mental well-being. Philadelphia has a tree canopy coverage of only 20%, with as little as 2.5% in some areas. Last year, the City set a goal of expanding citywide tree coverage to 30%–we’re working with neighbors and paid youth interns to strengthen tree canopy right here in Southwest Philly.

ROOTS Tree Crew interns presenting landscape designs to community members, friends, and family in June 2023.

ROOTS Tree Crew Paid Youth Internship

Are you a high school student in Southwest Philadelphia? Do you want a part-time job focused on improving your community’s environmental, physical, and mental health? Join the Tree Crew!

This program is not currently accepting applications.

For more information, please contact our Tree Program team at .

This program was established in partnership with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) with support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

General Activities

ROOTS Tree Crew Interns work 10 hours per week at $11/hour. Activities include:

  • Take the PHS Tree Tender Training course and become certified Tree Tenders
  • Explore the intersectionality of trees through subjects like ecology, art, politics, history, and cultural importance
  • Hone technical planting skills
  • Support community planting days and community clean-ups
  • Work alongside horticulturists to plant within Bartram’s Garden
  • Canvass neighbors and engage in community outreach within the Southwest Tree Tender Group area (49th Street to 65th Street, Chester Avenue to Lindbergh Boulevard) to get residents involved in tree planting and care
  • Lead seasonal tree tours and community science activities
  • Learn concepts of landscape design
  • Collaborate with peer interns at the Sankofa Community Farm and Denkyem River Guardians
  • Connect with professionals from varied careers, including arborists, landscape architects, environmentally minded politicians, crafters that work with wood in sustainable ways, and more

Who Is Eligible

Applications for this competitive program are accepted seasonally. No previous experience is needed–only enthusiasm for a healthier, greener Southwest Philadelphia!

In order to be eligible to apply, you must:

  • Live, attend school, or have other personal connections in Southwest Philadelphia, especially in the neighborhoods of Kingsessing, Eastwick, Elmwood Park, or Cobbs Creek. Priority will be given to students who live between 49th Street and 65th Street, between Chester Avenue and the river;
  • Have or be eligible for a work permit;
  • Be a current high school sophomore, junior, or senior in good standing; and
  • Be able to attend a consistent weekly schedule (see Important Dates), with up to three excused absences.

Additional requirements:

  • There is no academic requirement to apply; however, participating interns are supported to maintain at least a C average in all their classes.
  • This internship requires male applicants to register for selective service. Not registering will prohibit you from state-based student aid, federal job training, and the ability to work  a federal job.
  • Participants must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. An exception to the COVID vaccine requirement may be provided to individuals for religious or medical reasons.

 

Important Dates for 2023-2024 Program

  • Application Deadline: August 25, 2023
  • Program Dates: September 13, 2023 through mid-May 2024, with a break in December/January

Program includes 10 hours of work per week: 1 weekday after school plus Saturday mornings.

ROOTS Tree Crew interns and neighbors planting trees at Connell Park in April 2022.

Southwest Tree Coalition Leaders

Are you a Southwest Philadelphia resident who is passionate about planting trees, cleaning up the neighborhood, and connecting with neighbors? Join the Southwest Tree Coalition Leaders!

For more information, please contact Tree Program Coordinator Merissa MacDonald at trees@bartramsgarden.org.

This program was established in partnership with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) with support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Position Responsibilities

As the Southwest Tree Program grows, our neighbors are excited to get trees and need more support. The Fellow will work closely with the Southwest Tree Program Coordinator to better understand the goals of the program, to build relationships with community partners, and to support the ROOTS Tree Crew Interns.

This is a full-time (35 hours per week), 1-year position at $15/hour.

Activities include:

  • Take the PHS Tree Tender Training course and become a certified Tree Tender
  • Coordinate and facilitate meetings with the Southwest Tree Coalition Leaders
  • Canvass neighbors and engage in community outreach within the Southwest Tree Tender Group area (49th Street to 65th Street, Chester Avenue to Lindbergh Boulevard) to get residents involved in tree plantings and community clean-up days
  • Co-lead seasonal tree tours and community activities at Bartram’s Garden and in Southwest Philadelphia
  • Create and engage with social media posts about the Tree Program
  • Complete and present a capstone project of your choosing that aligns with the goals of the program
  • Attend Southwest Philadelphia community meetings

Eligibility Requirements

In order to be eligible to apply, you must:

  • Live or have other personal connections in Southwest Philadelphia, especially in the neighborhoods of Kingsessing, Eastwick, Elmwood Park, or Cobbs Creek. Priority will be given to applicants who live between 49th Street and 65th Street, between Chester Avenue and the river; and
  • Be between 18 and 24 and not enrolled in college/university/classes for the 2023–2024 school year.

Additional requirements:

  • Participants must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. An exception to the COVID vaccine requirement may be provided to individuals for religious or medical reasons.
  • Be able to lift 20–30 pounds.
  • As this position involves routine contact with minors, the individual hired will be required to the submit the following:
    • Pennsylvania Criminal History Check through the Pennsylvania State Police (PATCH)
    • Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Check through the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services
    • FBI Criminal History Check

 

Important Dates & Position Schedule

  • Application Deadline: August 25, 2023
  • Program Dates: September 2023 through August 2024

This position is required to work a regular weekly schedule of Tuesday through Saturday. Some evening work may also be required throughout the year.

Tree Crew Interns, Moms Bonded by Grief, and Bartram’s Garden staff after planting a new memorial grove together in November 2021. Photograph courtesy of Kromah Studio.

Southwest Tree Coalition Leaders

Are you a Southwest Philadelphia resident who is passionate about planting trees, cleaning up the neighborhood, and connecting with neighbors? Join the Southwest Tree Coalition Leaders!

For more information, please contact Tree Program Coordinator Merissa MacDonald at trees@bartramsgarden.org.

This program was established in partnership with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) with support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

About the Southwest Tree Coalition

Founded in 2021, the Southwest Tree Coalition is a partnership among local residents, Bartram’s Garden, and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) Tree Tenders working together to restore Southwest Philadelphia’s tree canopy. The goal is to encourage a healthy, comfortable, and beautiful neighborhood while building better relationships with our neighbors as a Tree Tender group.

Members of the Southwest Tree Coalition receive free access to PHS Tree Tender Trainings and work with Bartram’s Garden and PHS to support new tree plantings and community clean-ups.

The Southwest Tree Coalition coverage area extends from 49th Street to 65th Street, between Chester Avenue and the river.

General Activities

No previous experience is needed–only enthusiasm for a healthier, greener Southwest Philadelphia!

Tree Coalition Leaders will each receive an honorarium of $1,800 for their one-year participation. Activities include:

  • Take the free PHS Tree Tender Training course and become certified Tree Tenders
  • Serve as a resource for Southwest Philadelphia neighbors around tree education and tree sign-up forms; submit forms to Bartram’s Garden or PHS directly when needed
  • Collaborate and plan for the future of the Tree Coalition, including volunteer recruitment
  • Participate in twice-annual community planting days alongside Bartram’s Garden staff and Tree Crew Interns
  • Engage with neighbors and individual networks within the Southwest Tree Coalition coverage area (49th Street to 65th Street, Chester Avenue to Lindbergh Boulevard) to get residents involved in tree planting and care by designated deadlines
  • Sometimes attend workshops or table at community events on behalf of the Tree Coalition
  • Identify and maintain ways to engage with residents physically and digitally (social media posts, listserv messages, flyer distribution, community meeting participation, etc.)
  • Attend 9 monthly meetings per year

Important Dates for 2023-2024 Program

  • Application Deadline: August 25, 2023
  • Program Dates: September 2023 through May 2024

Do you want to hear about tree giveaways and planting opportunities?

Bartram’s Garden partners with the Southwest Philadelphia Tree Tenders to support adding trees in our neighborhood: between 49th Street and 65th Street, and south of Chester Avenue. If you live in another area of the city, contact Tree Philly for tree resources in your neighborhood.

Tree Interest Form

Please fill out this form to get notified of future tree distributions, giveaways, or planting opportunities. Assistance is available for selecting and planting your tree.

"*" indicates required fields

Name*
Address*
What is the best way to contact you for updates?*
Do you want a street tree or a yard tree?*
Street trees are planted by the sidewalk/curb; yard trees are planted in your yard.
Do you own your property or have permission to plant a tree?*

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