Tree Planting in Philadelphia: Mobilizing Communities to Restore the Urban Forest

Morris Arboretum Barnes Endowed Lecture

Gabriella Paez/Member, PHS Tree Tenders Advisory Committee and Community Voices group that is drafting Philadelphia’s Urban Forestry Plan

Urban communities across the nation are suffering disproportionately from the impact of climate change. This is mainly due to limited tree canopy and other issues stemming from the lack of investment that historically took place in minority neighborhoods. Learn how Philadelphia is tackling this problem by mobilizing communities to own the change in their neighborhoods. From TreePhilly’s Yard Tree Giveaway program to PHS’s Tree Tenders street tree plantings. Learn firsthand how this work has impacted communities from an organizer and activist who has led this work on the ground.

Gabriella Paez is a community organizer and activist who has dedicated her professional life to encouraging individuals in underserved communities to be changemakers. Gabriella, originally from the Dominican Republic, has called Philadelphia her home for the last 15 years. She holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Eastern University and a master’s in non-profit leadership from the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice. Gabriella served as the Education and Community Development Coordinator at Esperanza, a local non-profit, for six years. In her role at Esperanza, she developed and led programs aimed at the revitalization of Hunting Park in North Philadelphia, with special focus in protecting and enhancing open spaces and the environment.

Gabriella’s work has been recognized with multiple awards including Activist of the Year by SustainPHL, the Rising Star Award by the Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations, Tree of Fame by TreePhilly, and the Award of Merit by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.

The Barnes Endowed Lecture is presented annually in memory of Laura L. Barnes, founder of the Barnes Foundation Arboretum. This lecture is online only.

Tuesday, May 18

1—2 p.m.

Members:  $10

Non-Members:  $15

Tickets can be purchased at:


Morris Arboretum is one of more than 30 Philadelphia gardens in America’s Garden Capital. This 92-acre horticultural display garden features a spectacular collection of mature trees in a beautiful and colorful landscape.  The Morris Arboretum, which is part of the University of Pennsylvania’s Division of Business Services, offers educational programs for many audiences ranging from youth to professional and is a leader in botanical and horticultural research.  The official arboretum of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Morris Arboretum is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and accredited by the American Association of Museums.  For more information, visit:

Photo caption: Gabriella Paez of PHS’s Tree Tenders Program will present an online lecture as part of Morris Arboretum’s lecture series. Paez will discuss how urban communities are tackling climate change with tree planting programs to restore the urban forest. Tuesday, May 18, 1-2pm. Register for this virtual lecture at