“The reason I volunteered is that I really (want to) focus on working on the environment and keeping the community beautiful, and it always should be,” said Vanessa Rodriguez-Matos, a high school student at Esperanza Academy. She and several other students from the Academy teamed up with over 50 other volunteers on November 21st for the Hunting Park Tree Planting Event. TD Bank sponsored the event along with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS), and volunteers came from Esperanza, PHS, Action Tank, neighboring community Tree Tenders groups, as well as many longstanding community leaders.
Hunting Park has the highest heat index in the city. Due to this, several green initiatives have been undertaken by the community to lower the heat index and bring even more natural beauty to the area. This event alone planted 43 trees in the neighborhood. These trees will grow and benefit our community now and for generations to come. The event was close to many students’ hearts as they expressed their love for the environment and desire to see a more beautiful and clean community.
Desiree Franco, also an Esperanza Academy high school student, expressed that, “Especially in our city of Philadelphia, a city where there’s more trash on the sidewalk than there is cars on the street in a highway, I think it’s especially important for at least myself to do my part in picking up any trash on the floor, not littering, and taking opportunities such as this one to help out the environment even by a bit! I like to believe that anything counts no matter how insignificant it may seem in the grand scheme of things.”
Tree-planting events take place in Hunting Park twice a year, in the spring and fall. The next event is scheduled for April 2021.