Tree Tenders

Germantown Interfaith Power & Light Tree Tenders
 Vision Statement

Bill Hemmerling, Friendship Trees

Bill Hemmerling, Friendship Trees

Germantown Interfaith Power & Light Tree Tenders is part of outreach efforts by the Philadelphia Chapter of Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light (PHL PAIPL). Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light (PAIPL) is a community of faith based organizations and individuals of faith responding to climate change as an urgent moral issue through advocacy, energy conservation, energy efficiency, and the use of clean, renewable energy. Annual tree planting events by Germantown IPL Tree Tenders are intended to create awareness and action within Germantown faith groups.

Why Faith and Climate Change?  All of the major faith traditions emphasize stewardship of the earth and all creation for current and future generations. A unified voice of communities of faith responding with moral clarity on the urgency of addressing climate change can be a powerful advocacy group for change.

What does the Philadelphia Chapter of PA Interfaith Power & Light do? In existence since Earth Day 2013, we provide speakers, organize public events, and visit congregations to raise the awareness of the moral and spiritual dimensions of the climate crisis.  We follow climate change issues and coordinate communication with elected officials through letter writing, phone calls, e-mails, and face to face visits. We nourish hope and build community through retreats for activists, multi-faith celebrations, and community prayer services. We support a variety of efforts for energy conservation and the use of renewables through programs like energy audits, installing rooftop solar, and buying renewable electricity.

Why Trees? Trees not only have symbolic  importance in many sacred texts but they have numerous practical purposes, as well. We each inhale 35 lbs of oxygen daily, all from plants and we require 7 trees to convert the  carbon dioxide we exhale into oxygen. Asthma and other chronic respiratory ailments are devastating, especially to children, in many urban areas. Trees in the US alone remove hundreds of thousands of tons of pollutions from the air. Trees save energy by shading homes in the summer, releasing cooling moisture into the air, and providing windbreaks in the winter. They enhance water quality by  filtering and storing water because they act to prevent excess storm runoff. Studies have shown that planting trees increases property values, improves recovery times for hospital patients, encourages serenity and relaxation, reduces violence, and increases pride in local communities. Trees are critical in combating climate disruption by removing carbon dioxide from the air, storing carbon in the wood, and releasing oxygen into the atmosphere.     

What is Tree Tenders? Tree Tenders is part of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s efforts in partnership with other groups to plant one million trees in 13 counties in the tri-state area and restore the tree canopy to 30%. Tree Tenders provides training in planting, caring, and organization of tree planting events. Germantown IPL Tree Tenders is an official PHS Tree Tenders group made up of trained Tree Tenders and of other volunteers in the community.

What is the goal of Germantown IPL Tree Tenders?  Part of Philadelphia PA IPL’s outreach is focused in Germantown due to  specific support for outreach by First United Methodist Church of Germantown (FUMCOG) and their Julia Morgan Fund. The physical presence of trees planted by, and in support of, a community that will last for generations is both a  powerful action and symbol in creating awareness and action on climate change.

Many urban trees that were planted in Philadelphia decades ago will be at the end of their normal life span in coming years. We need to begin planting now in order to anticipate the coming loss of these mature trees. Trees planted today will offer their range of benefits when they mature in the future. But only if we act in the present. In the same way, it will be too late to address most mitigation of climate disruption when experienced at some point in the future. We have a window of opportunity now that future generations will not have to take action on climate disruption.


The first planting in Fall 2016 will involve planting 6 trees. Three trees will be planted on the grounds of FUMCOG and three street trees will be planted in front of businesses on Germantown Ave. Our goal for future years will be to have annual fall plantings of yard and street trees at faith institutions, businesses, and private residences in Germantown. Applications for planting trees in the fall are solicited from late fall through May of the year to be planted. Tree Tenders reviews applications, working with Philadelphia Parks and Recreation (PPR) on street tree applications. Our goal for Fall 2017 is to plant 15 trees in Germantown. As our capacity and experience grows we intend to have yearly increases in the number of trees planted.   

Germantown Interfaith Power & Light Tree Tenders is part of outreach efforts by the Philadelphia Chapter of Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light . Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light is a community of faith based organizations and individuals responding to climate change as an urgent moral issue through advocacy, energy efficiency, and the use of clean, renewable energy.  Annual tree planting events by Germantown Interfaith Power and Light Tree Tenders are intended to create awareness and action within Germantown faith groups.

The tree planting project was chosen because trees have both symbolic importance in many sacred texts and many practical purposes. Trees planted now will benefit future generations dealing with the disruption caused by climate change by removing carbon dioxide from the air, storing carbon in the wood, and releasing oxygen into the atmosphere. Asthma and other chronic respiratory ailments are devastating, especially to children, in many urban areas. Trees in the US remove hundreds of thousands of tons of pollution from the air. Trees save energy by shading homes in the summer and providing windbreaks in the winter. They enhance water quality by filtering and storing water because they act to prevent excess storm runoff. Studies have shown that there are even decreases in crime and litter in areas where trees are planted.

Tree Tenders is part of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s (PHS) efforts in partnership with other groups to plant one million trees in 13 counties in the tri-state area and restore the tree canopy to 30%. Tree Tenders provides training in planting, caring, and organizing of tree planting events. The Germantown Tree Tenders group is an official PHS Tree Tenders group made up of trained Tree Tenders and other volunteers in the community.

Contact for further information: Mark Smith: mfsmith4  AT gmail  DOT com; 215 886 5383