Talking Trees with Davey Tree

How Hockey is Helping Plant Trees for Arbor Day

April 27, 2023 The Davey Tree Expert Company Season 3 Episode 17
How Hockey is Helping Plant Trees for Arbor Day
Talking Trees with Davey Tree
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Talking Trees with Davey Tree
How Hockey is Helping Plant Trees for Arbor Day
Apr 27, 2023 Season 3 Episode 17
The Davey Tree Expert Company

Sandee Reid, Davey’s vice president of corporate communications and strategic planning, and Danielle Crumrine, executive director of Tree Pittsburgh, talk about Davey’s partnership with Tree Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Penguins, Arbor Day and the importance of consulting with a certified arborist.  

In this episode we cover:  

  • How Davey and Tree Pittsburgh became partners (1:00)  
  • What is Davey’s Score for the Trees partnership with the Penguins? (3:04)  
  • How they decide where the trees will be planted (4:40)  
  • What is a pawpaw tree and why is it important to plant in Pittsburgh? (6:19) 
  • The benefits of building a tree canopy in Pittsburgh (7:40)  
  • Is there a goal for the tree canopy? (8:46)  
  • Other trees that can be planted by homeowners (10:03)  
  • The importance of Arbor Day (11:56)  
  • The importance of having a certified arborist look at your trees (13:03)  
  • Why Davey wanted to partner with sports teams (14:52) 
  • What is Tree Pittsburgh and what does it do? (15:54)  
  • What Sandee and Danielle hope the partnership will accomplish for the city of Pittsburgh (17:58)  

To find your local Davey office, check out our find a local office page to search by zip code.  

To learn more about the Score for the Trees partnership, click here

To learn more about Tree Pittsburgh, visit its website, www.treepittsburgh.org

To learn more about why you should hire a certified arborist, read our blog, Benefits of Hiring a Professional Certified Arborist.  

Connect with Davey Tree on social media:
Twitter: @DaveyTree
Facebook: @DaveyTree
Instagram: @daveytree
YouTube: The Davey Tree Expert Company
LinkedIn: The Davey Tree Expert Company 

Connect with Doug Oster at www.dougoster.com

Have topics you'd like us to cover on the podcast? Email us at podcasts@davey.com. We want to hear from you!    

Show Notes Transcript

Sandee Reid, Davey’s vice president of corporate communications and strategic planning, and Danielle Crumrine, executive director of Tree Pittsburgh, talk about Davey’s partnership with Tree Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Penguins, Arbor Day and the importance of consulting with a certified arborist.  

In this episode we cover:  

  • How Davey and Tree Pittsburgh became partners (1:00)  
  • What is Davey’s Score for the Trees partnership with the Penguins? (3:04)  
  • How they decide where the trees will be planted (4:40)  
  • What is a pawpaw tree and why is it important to plant in Pittsburgh? (6:19) 
  • The benefits of building a tree canopy in Pittsburgh (7:40)  
  • Is there a goal for the tree canopy? (8:46)  
  • Other trees that can be planted by homeowners (10:03)  
  • The importance of Arbor Day (11:56)  
  • The importance of having a certified arborist look at your trees (13:03)  
  • Why Davey wanted to partner with sports teams (14:52) 
  • What is Tree Pittsburgh and what does it do? (15:54)  
  • What Sandee and Danielle hope the partnership will accomplish for the city of Pittsburgh (17:58)  

To find your local Davey office, check out our find a local office page to search by zip code.  

To learn more about the Score for the Trees partnership, click here

To learn more about Tree Pittsburgh, visit its website, www.treepittsburgh.org

To learn more about why you should hire a certified arborist, read our blog, Benefits of Hiring a Professional Certified Arborist.  

Connect with Davey Tree on social media:
Twitter: @DaveyTree
Facebook: @DaveyTree
Instagram: @daveytree
YouTube: The Davey Tree Expert Company
LinkedIn: The Davey Tree Expert Company 

Connect with Doug Oster at www.dougoster.com

Have topics you'd like us to cover on the podcast? Email us at podcasts@davey.com. We want to hear from you!    

Intro: Welcome to the Davey Tree Expert Company's podcast, Talking Trees. I'm your host, Doug Oster. Each week, our expert arborists share advice on seasonal tree care, how to make your trees thrive, arborists' favorite trees, and much, much more. Tune in every Thursday to learn more, because here at the Talking Trees podcast, we know trees are the answer.

Doug: It's our annual celebration of Arbor Day show for the Talking Trees podcast, and we have got a good one for you. We're talking all about Score for the Trees partnership in Pittsburgh. I'm joined by Sandee Reid, who is the vice president of corporate communications and strategic planning for the Davey Tree Expert Company, and Danielle Crumrine, she's the executive director of Tree Pittsburgh. I love Tree Pittsburgh, and I certainly love Davey. Welcome to the show, guys.

Danielle: Hi. It's great to be here.

Sandee: It's great to be here, Doug.

Doug: Before we get into the nuts and bolts of this, how did you two hook up, Tree Pittsburgh and Davey, Sandee?

[00:01:04] Sandee: Davey's had a long-time relationship with Tree Pittsburgh way back to the original Tree Pittsburgh Urban Forest Plan. Danielle can talk more about that. We also share some collaboration with the National Arbor Day Foundation. When we entered into conversation with the Penguins about Score For The Trees, there was no other partner that I could think that we would like to collaborate with than Tree Pittsburgh.

Doug: Danielle, talk a little bit about what Sandee was talking about there, this cooperative partnership.

Danielle: Really, if we think about the roots of Tree Pittsburgh, it goes back to the first street tree inventory that Davey conducted for the city of Pittsburgh, which really helped to shine a light on the disparity of trees along our streets, the dire condition of trees along our streets. That really helped to form the case for Tree Pittsburgh to exist. It was the City Shade Tree Commission that helped to launch the organization 17 years ago this year. Honestly, since the very beginning, we've worked with Davey to bring science and technology and research to everything that we do.

Sandee was referencing the city's Urban Forest Master Plan, which is a decade old at this point. It's a 20-year plan aiming to grow the city's tree canopy. A recent analysis showed that all of our hard work is starting to pay off. We've seen the first net gain in tree canopy in the city since we started doing these analyses, which is really exciting. It doesn't take much to turn that around and go really negative, but we're going to take the win and keep doing what we're doing because we're really happy to see these positive results.

Doug: Sandee, we've talked before. I know that you've partnered in Cleveland since you guys are in Kent, Ohio with the Guardians and the Cavaliers as far as they score and you plant trees. Talk a little bit about your work in Pittsburgh with the Score for the Trees partnership.

Sandee: Sure. The Score for the Trees partnership is based on goals scored by the Penguins players at home. This year, they're currently sitting at 140 goals with hopes for a number of more goals tomorrow night in their fan appreciation game of the season. This is our first year with the Pens in this program, and we hope to expand it as we move forward. We're also talking with the Penguins about other sustainability initiatives and ways that we can work together to make Pittsburgh a greener place.

Doug: Danielle, I don't know if you know it, but Sandee's a big Penguins fan.

Danielle: Oh, yes. Tell me more. I know she is. That's great.

Doug: Before we came on, we started talking about, "Hey, are they going to make the playoffs? What's going to happen?" Talk about how many trees right now we've be able to plant in Pittsburgh.

Danielle: I checked in with the team before this call to double-check. We're looking at close to 100 trees going in the ground this spring at over 14 locations. It's a mix. It's some fruit trees, it's some shade trees, it's flowering trees. It's at schools and parks, at a church. Really, it's spanning the gamut. We're very happy that Davey's trusting us to work with our Pittsburgh community to put the trees where they're needed the most.

Doug: How do you decide what tree goes where?

Danielle: That's quite a formula. We look up, we look down, we look around, we talk to the people that we need to talk to. Looking at utility conflicts. Just right tree, right place. I think we all know that there were a lot of trees planted in the past in places they shouldn't have been. Unfortunately, that's where we see a lot of the negative attitude come towards trees when they're lifting sidewalks, conflicting with power lines, too close to homes.

We're really very, very methodical about what we put where, and also giving the community a voice. We've had instances where we've worked with schools. The guy who mowed the grass told us, "This is a great location," and then day of the planting, a bunch of parents show up outraged because that's where their kids would play while football games were happening. Really lessons learned over the years that you have to engage a lot of people to make sure whatever you're doing is sustainable.

Doug: Now, I heard there might be some pawpaw trees in there. Is that true?

Danielle: Always pawpaw trees. Yes. We love our pawpaws. I'd like to take a little bit of credit-- you too, Doug-- for this major popularity explosion rather for our pawpaw trees. We do grow them at our nursery and everyone loves them.

Doug: Yes, we've talked about it on the podcast many times. If you could explain though, again, what a pawpaw tree is and why it's important to plant something like that in the city for this project.

Danielle: Yes. Pawpaw is a native fruit to this region, which we can't really say about the other fruits that we're familiar with. The emphasis on native and how well adapted they are to our climate and our conditions, and perhaps more importantly, the deer do not eat them. They are one of the few trees that the deer leave alone. Anybody who lives in this area knows that one of the number one pests to newly planted trees, young trees, are deer who love to rub on them and munch at them.

Definitely, a good tree for that reason as well. They're beautiful trees. They love growing along waterways, and we have a lot of those. The more we can put them back in our ecosystem, the better. There's certain pollinators that love them as well. I think there's just many, many benefits, and they're delicious.

Doug: Ah, delicious. That's where I was going. They say taste between a banana and a mango. I'm not sure if that's quite right, but they are delicious. Sandee, talk a little bit about from Davey Tree's perspective, the importance of building this tree canopy in Pittsburgh. What are the benefits?

Sandee: Sure, Doug. Davey has been working in Pittsburgh for 130 years. It's our home. Our local offices take pride in taking care of the tree canopy in Pittsburgh. Danielle also referenced Davey Resource Group, our consulting arm, has been involved on the science side, helping planning and looking at the canopy cover and how to best make sure that we grow that. I think it's important that trees positively impact human health, and they add beauty to the landscape, certainly. They help cut cooling costs during the hot summer months, and they help keep things warmer in the winter season. It's very important that we all pull together and help make sure that we plant trees, take care of trees, and help that canopy cover growing.

Doug: Is there any kind of goal as far as the canopy is concerned or is it just like, "Hey, we just got to keep planting trees because there's certainly not many negatives to planting trees"?

Danielle: There's a lot of debate over this. What is enough? When are there enough trees? I think at this point, the way that we're approaching it is we're looking at where canopy is the lowest. There's neighborhoods in the city that have 5% tree canopy, and the city average is 40. We can look at an average across the city, across the county, but we prefer to look at it at the neighborhood scale to make sure that everyone is getting equal access to all those benefits that Sandee mentioned.

Also, a fun fact I just learned from our friends at Davey Resource Group, nearly a quarter of Allegheny County is considered landslide-prone area. Within that quarter of the county, we're losing a lot of tree canopy. When we think about the benefits of trees, we've all seen landslides and this is millions of dollars for municipalities to clean up. I really foresee that being a focus of ours moving forward as well.

Doug: I know it has to be right tree, right place, but what are some of the tougher trees when you find the right spot that are good for the city? We see that pawpaw, that's an awesome tree, great native tree. What are a couple other things that we can think about that maybe homeowners could think about planting also to help the tree canopy?

Danielle: Diversity is key. Whenever we look at a site, we think about planting several species in one location if we can. Mixing in evergreen conifer varieties as well, talking to homeowners, thinking about, "Do you want to shield winter winds? Do you want year-round beauty? What are some species that might stay green all year long for you? Do you love birds? What kind of trees do we want to plant that would attract birds?"

One that I'm really recommending, that's my personal favorite is serviceberry. I have two daughters and they love to pick the serviceberry in June. They're delicious, and few people even know that you could eat them. They just think it's ornamental. Birds love them as well. We really look at what do you want to get out of your landscape and then we could match the trees.

Another one that we've been planting a lot of are a variety of magnolias for shade, the white oak. Ginkgo trees are so beautiful. Sweet gum, black gum. There's just so many to choose from, but I think ultimately it's the variety.

Doug: I just came in from the garden, and my serviceberry is just leafing out and--

Danielle: Mine too.

Doug: I never get the berries because the birds get them first. Maybe I need some young kids around here to get to those berries first. Sandee, let's talk a little bit about Arbor Day. If you work for a tree company, Arbor Day has to be a pretty important day of the year.

Sandee: Absolutely, Doug. We wish Arbor Day was every day, and I guess we treat it that way certainly in the Davey Company. National Arbor Day is the last Friday of the month of April. There's state arbor days that are different days throughout the year, and so I do feel like we're often celebrating Arbor Day all year round. One of the things that anyone can do is get involved and planting a tree in your yard, or volunteer to do a community planting.

The other thing that's very, very important is making sure that you're taking care of the trees that are planted, making sure that they've been planted properly, that they get the right water, that they're protected from the deer, that they are-- if you see any signs of insects or disease that you call a friendly tree doctor. If you're not sure if your tree has any insects and disease, your friendly tree doctor can take a look at that and make sure that it's taken care of before that the problem gets to be too severe.

Doug: Just a reminder for listeners, and if you've listened for a long time you know this, but everybody doesn't, that when you call Davey Tree and you ask a certified arborist to come, they come for free, which is pretty amazing. They have this code of ethics. We talk about this a lot. Danielle, I want you to talk a little bit about this too, about the importance of having the right people like Tree Pittsburgh caring for trees, giving advice for trees, and making trees available in the city.

Danielle: I think the number one reason you want somebody who's truly qualified is safety. We see time and time again folks who are not qualified. I see just everyday citizen out there on a ladder on the street climbing their tree with a chainsaw above their head. I just saw that last week in fact. It's just a disaster waiting to happen not only for that person, but property and people surrounding the tree. Really, it's the safety.

Also, there's that saying, “Nip it in the bud,” that comes from gardening. We know that if you take care of a tree properly in a skilled manner you're going to save yourself a lot of headaches and dollars later on. Having someone who knows how to properly prune a tree as opposed to let's say stubbing it and then it sprouts tons of new branches and they're right out there a year later, it's win-win at the end of the day. It pays to pay a little more to have someone who's qualified, certified, and insured.

Doug: Well said. No doubt about that. Sandee, back to trees. The Trees-Penguins partnership, how did sports teams become part of this, whether it's Cleveland or Pittsburgh?

Sandee: We thought it was a good way to reach an audience that traditionally wasn't really talking about trees. In our relationship with both the Cavaliers, the Guardians, and now the Penguins enabled us to bring forth a topic that wasn't a traditional partnership topic and expand the sustainability platforms that those teams were talking on. We think it's a fun way through the activation, whether it's home runs, or three-point shots, or goals scored, definitely a way to keep score and then return that back to the community.

In Cleveland and in Pittsburgh, our local teams participate in those planting events. They take pride in caring for those trees. In Pittsburgh, our partnership with Tree Pittsburgh's allowed our local teams to participate in these events with other community volunteers with Tree Pittsburgh and then make sure that those trees survive and thrive. I think it's a great way to combine sports and taking care of the environment and giving back.

Doug: Danielle, tell us a little bit more about Tree Pittsburgh. Some of the other things that you guys do that people might not know about.

Danielle: As I said, we're 17 years old, and we work across Allegheny County engaging and inspiring people to plant and care for trees. We work in schools with educators in the classroom, out of the classroom. Working with kids to get their hands dirty, teach them all about trees, teach them how to be good citizens. The civic engagement piece of this as well. We have adult programs, everything from tree ID walks to the Tree Tender program, which is one of our flagship programs. It's a 101, everything you want to know about trees, how to plant them, how to care for them, identifying them, their species. Really working the gamut there from youth to adults.

We grow trees, not everybody knows that. We have a nursery in Pittsburgh's Lawrenceville neighborhood where we grow thousands of trees all from seed that we collect in the region. It's a really unique operation. There aren't many like it in Pennsylvania, even nationally. We are consulting with other cities to start up local nurseries. It helps to reduce the carbon footprint of the trees as well as increasing genetic and biodiversity.

We have a campus as well, which is pretty exciting. We have summer camps, classes, and you could even rent a space for your special event.

Doug: Let me tell you how Tree Pittsburgh reached all the way out to Costa Rica. I was in Costa Rica and I had my Tree Pittsburgh hat on. They were doing a tree planting thing, and they looked around at everybody and they saw that hat and they said, “I bet you know how to plant trees.” They pulled me out of the crowd and we planted a bunch of trees together, [laughs] and it was all because of my Tree Pittsburgh hat.

Danielle: Awesome.

Doug: Sandee, what do you hope that this partnership accomplishes for Pittsburgh?

Sandee: I think it's a great opportunity to involve people who might not have had the opportunity to participate in tree planting events and learn what that's like, and then maybe get hooked on it and continue to volunteer with Tree Pittsburgh. I was fortunate last week to get to participate in the first planting of the Penguins plantings. It was just great to see the young kids who had never been involved before and seeing how a tree was planted, see them not understand that they could get their hands dirty and that was okay.

There were adults who had never participated in a tree-planting event. That's really for us, certainly, we'd like to see the canopy cover increase. We'd like to see better education on people understanding how to take care of their trees. My one wish would be that more people have the opportunity to participate in a tree-planting event and get hooked on it and then continue getting involved with tree plantings.

Doug: Same question for you, Danielle, before we end today, what do you hope this partnership does for Pittsburgh?

Danielle: I think my biggest hope is that we get exposed to an audience that had never heard of us before. Having the ability to leverage the Pittsburgh Penguin network, all those folks that are at the arena to watch the games, seeing our logo, seeing our name, learning about local tree planting efforts. I think that's going to have a truly lasting impact for us.

Doug: I want to thank both of you for your time. Great information. What a wonderful project. I can't wait to be at one of these tree plantings here in Pittsburgh and check it out. Thanks again.

Sandee: Thank you, Doug.

Danielle: Thank you.

Sandee: We're looking forward to having you plant with us.

Doug: I planted in Costa Rica. Now I got to plant in Pittsburgh, right?

Danielle: Absolutely.

Doug: Thanks again.

Outro: That was fun, wasn't it? What a great project. Now tune in every Thursday to the Talking Trees podcast from the Davey Tree Expert Company. I'm your host, Doug Oster. Do me a big favor, subscribe to the podcast so you'll never miss a show. If you've got an idea for a show or a comment, send me an email to podcasts, that's plural, @davey.com. That's podcasts@davey.com. As always, we'd like to remind you on the Talking Trees podcast, trees are the answer.

[00:20:33] [END OF AUDIO]