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The Bellwether District Commits $100,000 to Bartram’s Garden to Plant 200 Trees Over the Next 2 Years in Southwest Philadelphia

Apr 18, 2024
Home / News / The Bellwether District Commits $100,000 to Bartram’s Garden to Plant 200 Trees Over the Next 2 Y...

The Bellwether District has once again deepened its commitment to building sustainable communities with a $100,000 grant to Bartram’s Garden to support its Southwest Philadelphia Tree Program. This grant marks the beginning of a two-year partnership to plant up to 200 trees throughout Southwest Philadelphia to expand the urban tree canopy, while engaging local students for paid workforce development and hands-on education opportunities.

The grant supports high school students as Tree Crew interns, offering a part-time, paid opportunity to acquire tree care and landscaping skills and to perform local community outreach in partnership with the Southwest Tree Coalition, through which Bartram’s Garden convenes local residents as Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) Tree Tenders. The goal is to encourage a healthy, comfortable, and beautiful neighborhood while building stronger community bonds.

“Building a cleaner, greener and healthier Philadelphia is at the heart of our mission at The Bellwether District, and we are so pleased to team up with Bartram’s Garden to support their tremendous work to build up the tree canopy in Southwest Philadelphia,” said Roberto Perez, Chief Executive Officer of HRP. “At HRP, we know a healthy tree canopy plays a vital role beyond simple aesthetics in enhancing urban environments and contributing to the well-being of cities and their residents. It’s simple: more trees lead to healthier communities.”

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Friends of The Bellwether District and Bartram’s Garden came together to celebrate this new partnership with a ceremonial planting of a Swamp Oak at the garden in Southwest Philadelphia. Representatives of the offices of U.S. Senator Bob Casey, U.S. Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon, State Senator Anthony H. Williams, State Representative Regina Young, and Philadelphia City Council President Kenyatta Johnson joined in the event.

Studies show the presence of trees in a community improves environmental health, physical health, and mental health. Neighborhoods with trees are also subject to reduced crime rates and protection against urban blight. Though the city has set a goal to expand citywide tree coverage to 30%, Philadelphia currently has a tree canopy coverage of only 20%, with as little as 2.5% in some areas like Southwest Philadelphia, leading to enormous amounts of air, water, and noise pollution, with ensuing negative impacts on health and mental well-being.

“There’s an extraordinary environmental heritage here in Southwest Philadelphia as well as a significant need,” said Maitreyi Roy, Executive Director of Bartram’s Garden, “and we are so grateful to partner with the students in the Tree Crew, neighbors in the Southwest Tree Coalition, and HRP to build on that legacy by investing in the neighborhood’s tree canopy. We’re very excited to see the ways in which a greener, more climate resilient neighborhood can create a healthier ecosystem for everyone.”

The Bellwether District–a 1300-acre state of the art e-commerce, life sciences and logistics project led by Hilco Redevelopment Partners (HRP) in South Philadelphia–is set to transform the grounds of the former PES Refinery into a sustainable economic engine. While the project itself prioritizes environmental, economic, and community sustainability for the city and the region, HRP is also committed to building strong partnerships with the intention to better understand and respond directly to community priorities.

To date, The Bellwether District has partnered with more than 30 Philadelphia-based civic and nonprofit organizations to build a more sustainable and equitable community. The partnership with Bartram’s Garden announced today is the latest in a nearly $2 million investment in education, workforce development, and community support throughout Philadelphia.

To learn more about the Bellwether District’s commitment to community, visit

About Bartram’s Garden

Located on 50 acres along the Tidal Schuylkill River in Southwest Philadelphia, Bartram’s Garden is a free public park and National Historic Landmark welcoming more than 100,000 visitors annually. In partnership with our neighbors, Bartram’s Garden offers a range of free, year-round opportunities to connect with nature and build relationships.

The Garden’s Southwest Philadelphia Tree Program was founded in 2021 in partnership with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) with initial support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, employing local high school students and partnering with the Southwest Philadelphia Tree Coalition to increase and strengthen tree canopy throughout the neighborhood.

About The Bellwether District

The Bellwether District will be a 1300-acre state-of-the-art home for e-commerce, life sciences, and logistics leaders. Through an extensive remediation process, HRP will transform the former industrial relic into a global model of sustainable development and design where people and the planet can win together. For more information about The Bellwether District, visit

About Hilco Redevelopment Partners (HRP)

HRP is a vertically integrated real estate investment and redevelopment company that re-imagines, remediates, and redevelops obsolete industrial sites across the United States with a uniquely holistic approach to development that prioritizes economic, community and environmental sustainability. HRP’s redevelopment expertise ranges from modern logistics and distribution facilities to urban, mixed-use projects, and life science ecosystems. HRP strives to transform not only properties, but also the communities surrounding them through a comprehensive approach to community engagement, environmental sustainability, and economic development. HRP is a unit of Northbrook, Illinois based Hilco Global ( ).

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