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Philadelphia residents have planted more than 1,000 trees in eight years in the Hunting Park neighborhood » Yale Climate Connections

Climate change is bringing more hot days. And when the temperature rises, residents of Philadelphia’s Hunting Park neighborhood suffer more than others.

The area gets hotter than many other parts of the city, in large part because of a lack of shade. On average, trees cover 19% of Philadelphia. But they only cover about 9% of Hunting Park, a largely Black, Hispanic, and low-income neighborhood.

So community organizer Gabriella Gabriel Paez has been working to make the neighborhood greener and cooler.

“I started working with the community first to kind of build engagement and momentum,” she says.

Paez began talking to residents about the importance of trees and working with the city and local nonprofits to distribute free yard trees.

She also convinced a local Tree Tenders program to launch bilingual trainings, so Spanish-speaking residents could learn to plant, tend, and advocate for Philadelphia’s urban forest.

Paez says that over the past eight years, her efforts have helped get more than a thousand new trees planted in Hunting Park.

“Start working with that one resident, with that one block, and you will see how that quickly will turn into this domino effect … and that has the potential to transform an entire community,” she says.

Reporting credit: Ethan Freedman / ChavoBart Digital Media

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