PA: Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership

Article by Brenda Sieglitz, Senior Manager, Chesapeake Bay Foundation – Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership

The Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership is a multi-year

Child planting a tree
Aniya Robinson, 8, finishes planting a seedling as part of a riparian forest buffer project in Lancaster County, PA.

effort designed to spark governmental action, public attention, and funding to rally efforts around Pennsylvania’s Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint. The ambitious goal of this collaborative effort is to add 10 million new trees by 2025 in Pennsylvania’s agricultural riparian buffers, urban and suburban landscapes, and abandoned mine lands.

A coalition of over 200 diverse organizations are committed to making the Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership goal a reality. This growing list of partners includes a range of local, regional, and national conservation groups, commonwealth and federal government organizations, nursery and tree supply businesses, and other businesses throughout Pennsylvania and the Mid-Atlantic.

As part of its Making History Campaign (MHC), the Chesapeake Bay Foundation launched this strategic effort to expedite the reduction of nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment pollution from Pennsylvania’s rivers and streams that feed into the Chesapeake Bay. Through this effort, CBF is driving partnership efforts to boost production of native trees while also aligning with partners to identify strategic planting locations. With a broad and targeted range of partners, we are accelerating native tree planting efforts in identified locations, raising public awareness, and establishing sustainable, science-based management of tree planting and ongoing tree care and maintenance. Ultimately, adding 10 million native trees to the Pennsylvania landscape will improve the Bay’s water quality by stabilizing stream and riverbanks, filtering water flow from agricultural, urban, and abandoned mine land environments, and boost the economy through trees’ ability to reduce public health costs, crime, and engaging local industry such as nurseries, garden centers and like-minded industries.

Woman helps a young girl plant a tree seedling.
Lauren Braught, CBF Student Leader, plants a tree seedling with a young volunteer.

Collectively the partnership has planted over 3.96 million trees. This includes work by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Pennsylvania Game Commission, Pennsylvania Environmental Council, Green Forest Works, PA Department of Environmental Protection, Susquehanna River Basin Commission, Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts, Stroud Water Research Center and Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay amongst many others.

In 2022 the partnership will be directly providing over 462,000 trees to partners through their forward contract purchase of trees with nurseries in Pennsylvania and Maryland. The partnership has been working on this special contract over the past two years which includes growing native trees on demand for the partnership, to their specifications, for delivery in 2022. There is a heavy focus on the Pennsylvania economy which is why many of the dollars are being spent on Pennsylvania and mid-Atlantic growers. They are about to embark on renewing these contracts for a forward contract grow for 2023 which they anticipate being around 700,000+ trees. To date all trees, shelters, and stakes have been provided to partners across the Commonwealth at no cost to the partner. They anticipate reaching the halfway point, 5 million, by the end of 2022.

In early 2022 they are also launching a large-scale marketing campaign with Swell marketing agency out of Philadelphia and Harrisburg. The campaign will focus on connecting free trees with agricultural landowners in south central Pennsylvania who own land along waterways. This fall they launched social media channels for the partnership on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Part of this marketing campaign will include an updated website which will help landowners walk through a form to match their property concerns with the right technical assistance provider in their region.

Brenda Sieglitz, Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership Senior Manager, shares about their work over the past three years since the partnership launched in April 2018:

“The partnership has grown from 30 partners to 203 in 3 years. Each partner brings with them a new level of expertise that we can learn from and will help us to grow into the next phase of the program. It is because of our partners and the nurseries and suppliers that we work with that we are successful.”.

We have achieved amazing results through our forward contract of trees and are so excited to deliver over 450,000 trees in 2022. We hope the marketing efforts ahead of us will result in landowners who are engaged in how trees can be a solution to their property concerns and even a potential income producer for their farms.”

Anyone who is interested in the project should visit http://www.tenmilliontrees.org/ or contact [email protected] or 717-769-4141.

Two people planting a seedling in a field.
Volunteers Christine Nicklaus and John Naylor plant a seedling in York County, PA.