Get Inspired This Arbor Day

The History of Arbor Day 

Arbor Day is most often observed on the last Friday of April, coinciding with the best tree planting weather. Its origin in the United States dates back to the 1870s in Nebraska City, where a newspaper editor proposed a tree planting holiday in response to pioneers’ disappointment of their state’s tree-less landscape. A celebration was set for April 10, 1872, and, through a friendly competition with prizes involved, an estimated one million trees were planted in the state. Today, many celebrate the holiday by planting saplings, reflecting on the benefits of trees and woodlands, and supporting organizations like the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy in their daily efforts to restore and preserve local tree canopies.  

Our Horticulture and Forestry Team’s Work 

Here at the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, our horticulture and forestry team is small but mighty: our staff of six, along with the help of interns, externs, seasonals, and generous volunteers, planted nearly 450 new trees and maintained over one thousand young trees across Pittsburgh’s parks in 2023 alone. But planting, watering, mulching, and pruning aren’t their only tasks. For example, in Hays Woods our ecological restoration coordinator Jared Belsky cuts back invasive, woody vines – an acre at a time --  to protect our forest canopy, restore our understory habitat, and promote native plant growth. In Emerald View Park, restoration gardener Reid Loughead manages the Bigbee Field Trailhead, where he’s planted a wide variety of pollinator-friendly plants. And in Schenley Park, our team monitors native trees grown from seed in “Fezziwig Grove,” a living laboratory designed to diversify regional tree markets and, ultimately, our urban tree canopy.  

Support our Park Tree Fund 

An Easy Way to Help 

Thanks to environmental educators, you likely know the reasons why trees are so important. When properly cared for, mature trees and forests provide a variety of ecosystem services: they clean the air, filter our water, provide a habitat for wildlife, and reduce peak temperatures in the summer. And as trees age, their climate benefits grow. 

In April of 2023, the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy launched Canopy Keepers, a group of everyday people who have committed to a sustaining monthly gift in support of the ongoing restoration of Pittsburgh’s tree canopy. If local trees are meaningful to you, please consider swapping a coffee or online subscription for a monthly donation to this critical work in Pittsburgh. Canopy Keepers will be invited to exclusive hikes, volunteer events, and other opportunities to get to know field experts and likeminded advocates. Below you’ll meet two local Canopy Keepers who will feel good this Arbor Day, knowing they’re making a difference in Pittsburgh.  


Megan And Talia

Meet Megan Kruse 

How long have you lived in Pittsburgh? 10 years this summer! 

Your Neighborhood: Monroeville, but I lived in Regent Square when I first moved to Pittsburgh 

Favorite Tree Species Found in Pittsburgh: Magnolia 

What sparked your first gift to the Park Tree Fund: Witnessing the positive impact of trees in our parks firsthand. I’m inspired by the shade of towering trees, picnicking in picturesque groves – the invaluable role that trees play in fostering community and well-being. Knowing that my contribution could help preserve and expand these green oases is a big motivator for me.  

Your Vision for Pittsburgh’s Parks: One of thriving green spaces that serve as vibrant hubs of community and ecological diversity. I envision parks filled with lush tree canopies, native plantings, and accessible amenities for all ages and backgrounds.  

What I love about PPC: They work tirelessly to advocate for parks, mobilize volunteers, and address critical needs. They bring government agencies, other non-profits, businesses, and residents together to create healthier, more resilient communities through parks.  

Most underrated park: Hays Woods 

Meet Adam Causgrove 

How long have you lived in Pittsburgh? I moved here in 2002 and fell in love with this city. I may have been born in Erie, but Pittsburgh is home now! 

Your Neighborhood: Duquesne Heights 

Favorite Park: Emerald View 

Why do you support the Park Tree Fund: Trees provide so many benefits, from lowering the temperature in hotter seasons to providing habitats for birds I love to see.  

Why you joined Canopy Keepers: I don’t have a lot of capacity to give one big gift, so PPC’s recurring option allows me to make a small but useful donation on a monthly basis.  

Your Vision for Pittsburgh’s Parks: The parks are where my son and I visit our friends every day after school, it's where we have baseball practice and games, where we hike with our dog, and it's always a favorite spot to take friends and guests visiting the city. We're so fortunate to have all the amenities offered by city living and augmenting the experience is how diverse and accessible our thousands of acres of green space are.  

What I love about PPC: The Parks are for everyone and that is what makes it so special! The PPC is able to work directly with the community to identify big projects that are desperately needed in a given neighborhood as well as maintain the beauty and vitality of existing areas throughout the city. If you live in Pittsburgh, the Conservancy is working to make your community better and they can only continue their great work through our help - at any level! 

Adam And Watson

This Arbor Day, support your local trees with a donation to Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy’s Park Tree Fund. Whether you give $5 or $50, once or monthly, you are making a difference! 

Support Pittsburgh’s Park Trees