Another planting season is in the books, and 2021 was a big year for us! Thanks to our volunteers, donors, and collaborators at various townships and school districts, we continued our mission of planting trees, restoring green spaces, and advocating for environmental change!
We are excited to share with you a few milestones that we accomplished this year.
- Colonial Canopy Trees became an official 501(c)3 non-profit organization. This allows our donors to deduct donations from their taxes, and opens up more grant and funding opportunities for us.
- We received our first grant in 2021, thanks to Earth Uprising and Ecosia. The grant was awarded to youth-led movements that fight climate change in creative ways. We used the funds to plant more trees!
- Colonial Canopy Trees became an official Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) Tree Tenders group for the Plymouth-Whitemarsh area! The Tree Tender program plants thousands of trees in the greater Philadelphia area each year by building an extensive network of trained tree enthusiasts. We are excited to be a Tree Tenders group, and we are thankful for the opportunities PHS provides to our community!
Tree Totals and Planting Projects
In total, Colonial Canopy Trees planted 164 trees and shrubs in our area this year. We also donated 19 Dawn Redwood saplings to Marquand Park Arboretum in New Jersey for children to plant with their parents, bringing our 2021 total to 183 plants!
Of the 164 we planted, 103 were in Whitemarsh Township, 51 were in Plymouth Township, 3 in Conshohocken, 3 in Glenside, 3 in Abington and 1 in Philadelphia.
Many of these trees were planted in our township parks. In total, we planted 84 new trees at 12 different parks, including 11 trees at Miles Park and 10 at Cedar Grove Park, thanks to funding from Whitemarsh Township and generous donors. We also planted trees on private property, as residents join the effort to add more trees to our dwindling canopy.
We added 32 native, water-loving trees in a riparian zone along Mathers Lane in Whitemarsh. A small stream runs through this township-owned parcel, subjecting the site to intense flooding during rain events. These trees will help reduce flooding and improve water quality before the stream reaches the Wissahickon. It will add much needed habitat for wildlife after the recent tornado destruction in the area. We will continue planting at this site next year.
In Plymouth Township, we’ve worked closely with residents near Sandwood Park to help restore this natural and undeveloped park into a forest full of native plants. We hope to restore the tree canopy and understory, reduce grass mowing, and provide more habitat and food for pollinators, insects and birds.
We are immensely grateful to Whitemarsh and Plymouth township staff for collaborating with us to get more trees in the ground this year! We also want to thank Colonial School District staff for working with us to plant trees on school district property.
We are so thankful for those who contributed to our efforts this year. In total, we had 47 monetary donations, totaling over $3,500! We’ve spent about $2,500 on trees and fencing, which helped us tackle various projects, large and small. You can make a tax-deductible contribution by visiting our donation page.
Many of you have generously dug up and donated your own seedlings, saplings, nursery pots, and fencing material! Of our 164 planted trees and shrubs this year, 29 of them were donated by local residents! Many others are overwintering in our nurseries, hoping for a permanent home in 2022.
We could not have achieved our goals for 2021 without the help of our volunteers! We held a total of 14 events, and engaged over 100 volunteers who generously gave over 300 hours of their time and physical effort. Thank you!
We launched a “Tree Steward” program, where residents who live near newly-planted trees can “adopt” a tree to take care of. Our Tree Stewards visited their adopted trees regularly to water, pull weeds, and report any issues. Their super important work helps ensure that newly-planted trees will thrive!
This past Spring, local Girl Scout Troop 7511 helped us plant ten 8-12′ trees in Plymouth and Whitemarsh. Because of this great work, the girls recently received their Bronze Award – the highest honor a junior Girl Scout can receive! They attended educational Zoom calls with us to learn about planting and caring for trees, and then applied their knowledge in the field! Recently, they put together this great video showcasing what they learned from the experience.
Colonial Canopy Trees joined the 5th grade class at Immaculate Heart of Mary School in Philadelphia to plant a Flowering Dogwood on their campus. Over 30 students helped to plant, water and care for the tree. Students applied what they had learned in the classroom to ask great questions about trees and our environment!
When we meet with residents and township staff, we are always happy to share what we have learned about the numerous benefits of trees, and best practices for planting and stewarding trees. We focus on native trees and shrubs to better serve as habitats and food sources for native fauna. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us through our website, or email us at ColonialCanopy@gmail.com.
Looking Forward to 2022!
As the cold weather sets in, our recently-planted trees have been weeded and mulched, bedded down for winter dormancy. We are now planning for planting projects in the 2022 season. If you have any suggestions or would like more trees in your area, please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We hope you have a great holiday season, and we hope to see you in the spring! Thanks for all you do!
– Andrew Conboy and Karen Kabnick