Gannon to “TreeVitalize” City of Erie

Posted: October 3, 2014

On Saturday, Oct. 4, Gannon University students will plant more than 170 trees in the City of Erie, many within the University's Erie-GAINS neighborhood.

The Erie-GAINS (Gannon Alliances to Improve Neighborhood Sustainability) neighborhood is comprised of about 200 city blocks bordered by Presque Isle Bay to the north, Parade Street to the east, 11th Street to the south and the
Bayfront Parkway to the west.

The "TreeVitalize" project will involve nearly 200 Gannon students for the second round of tree planting as part of the public- private partnership initiative that was started in Sept. 2012.

For the TreeVitalize project, Gannon University is partnering with the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and the City of Erie, among others. The project received a $30,000 grant from TreeVitalize, a partnership launched by the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to restore tree cover by planting 1 million trees in Pennsylvania over five years.

Gannon's TreeVitalize project is designed to promote community engagement, beautify neighborhoods and increase the number of trees in predominantly urban areas. In selecting locations for new trees in the Erie-GAINS neighborhood, those properties with few or no trees, as well as areas with trees that have died, were prioritized.

Gannon also hopes to use the trees to foster a greater understanding, among children in the area, of the importance of environmental stewardship and sustainability, which are key aspects of Erie-GAINS.

In 2012, Gannon volunteers and others planted 135 trees. The harsh winter was one of the factors that lead to the need to replace 26 of the trees that were planted in median strips along W. 10th Street.

Gannon has worked with foresters from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) and the City of Erie's arborist, Sarah Galloway, to identify planting sites based on residents and businesses that have requested new trees. Galloway also has helped Gannon identify species of trees that are best suited for urban environments, including American hornbeam, eastern redbud, giant grey dogwood, kwanzan cherry, autumn brilliance serviceberry and tulip trees.