Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Greening our Cities one plant at a time

Earth Day is just around the corner. It's a chance for all of us to make a positive impact on the environment by changing a few habits: (like remembering to turn off unnecessary lights, use energy efficient light bulbs, wash your laundry later in the evening, and more.)

But more than cultivating a few "eco-habits", we can influence and help our communities, towns and cities get onboard the green train to help protect and restore our infrastructures and natural resources.

Our GMG office is located southwest of Philadelphia, home of the Liberty Bell and historical treasures. Philly also boasts the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS), known for the world-class Philadelphia International Flower Show.

A little known fact is that PHS has been around since 1827 and is the oldest continuously running horticultural society in the U.S.

But PHS also has a wonderful program, Philadelphia Green, that's been in existence for over 30 years and uses horticulture "to build communities and improve the quality of life."

Besides revitalizing parks and green space and reclaiming abandoned land, PHS has recently partnered with three states for the campaign "Plant One Million." Plant what? Trees... in the Greater Philadelphia region, and in southern New Jersey and Delaware.

The U.S. Forest Service Chief, Tom Tidwell, attended the recent launch and revealed plans for the creation of the first Urban Field Station to help improve the environment in the Philadelphia area.

Tidwell said that the intent is to "increase tree canopy cover in the Greater Philadelphia region and improve the environment, create jobs, strengthen communities and improve air and water quality."

A tall order. But with the support of Mayor Michael Nutter's shared vision of "Philadelphia becoming America's greenest city," through this PHS initiative, as well as urban renewal projects with community gardens and vacant land restoration, the dream may very well become a reality, one plant at a time.

Green on, Philly.
photos courtesy of PHS: Love Park & Phila City Hall; South Philadelphia & community initiative; Aspen Park before/after; and school initiatives

Lynne, GMG

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