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Bidwell: Pittsburgh Metropolitan TreeVitalize Program

In response to an alarming trend of the loss of trees in Pittsburgh’s metropolitan areas, Duquesne University partnered with the Bidwell Training Center to assist with their involvement in the TreeVitalize program.

Tree-lined streets make communities look great, and they also clean the air, provide shade to cool buildings and paved areas, increase property values and help control stormwater runoff. students planting treesThe goal of our partnership is to help restore tree cover, educate citizens about planting trees as an act of caring for our environment, and to build capacity among local governments to understand, protect and restore their urban trees in Pittsburgh.

Duquesne students collaborated with Bidwell’s horticultural class to conduct surveys of North Side streets such as Beaver Ave, Chateau and Metropolitan Streets. Physical examinations of the existing street trees’ health conditions were conducted.

Following the assessments and planning, Duquesne students helped organize multiple training sessions to provide the technical knowledge and skills necessary to successfully prepare, plant, prune, and care for the trees. On Saturday, November 20th at 6:30AM, Duquesne students congregated at Bidwell’s campus in the Northshore to initiate the mass planting day. Students prepared tree wells, unloaded trees, and ultimately planted, mulched and watered the curly oaks.

students planting treesAlexander Roebuck, a Senior Biology major involved in the program through the Science in Service of Society class, said, “The program needs help from the community to get the trees planted, but it doesn’t stop there. It is important that we treat the community members with respect, because this relationship is by far the most important. A large-scale project such as this one would be absolutely impossible without their assistance.”

Reflections

"Volunteering with the Bidwell Training Center to help beautify my city was one of the most rewarding class experiences I have had. Using my knowledge as a young scientist alongside my peers to help improve the community taught me that any contribution can have a lasting impression."

— Giuseppe Staltari