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Pens Plant Trees in Community

by Brooks Bratten / Pittsburgh Penguins

It’s been almost four months since the final selection of the 2012 NHL Draft was made in Pittsburgh, but the city is still reaping the benefits that come along with hosting one of the league’s signature events. Thanks to NHL Green, the Pittsburgh Penguins, the City of Pittsburgh, Tree Pittsburgh and TreeVitalize Pittsburgh, 30 trees were planted on Friday outside of the Hill House in the city’s Hill District neighborhood.

At the Draft this past June, NHL Green, which is the league’s environmental program, announced the launch of the Tree Legacy Project, an initiative designed to help revitalize urban environments supporting premier NHL events. The planting of 30 trees to represent each of the NHL’s member clubs is part of the project.

Pens staff assist with planting trees in the community
Photo Gallery

“I think everybody understands the tradition of the Penguins organization and their commitment to excellence on the ice, but the Penguins also have an outrageous effect on their community,” said Paul LaCaruba of NHL Green and the NHL Foundation. “The Penguins have continued to look at how they can make Pittsburgh and the areas that they affect, the community that they affect, better for their fans.”

A number of Penguins staff members, as well as employees from the University of Pittsburgh, volunteered their time to put up the trees. Tree Pittsburgh, a non-profit organization that aims to protect and restore the city’s tree population, was also involved in the project.

“Planting trees is a great way to leave a legacy,” said Danielle Crumrine of Tree Pittsburgh. “The intent behind this project is to honor the Draft that happened in Pittsburgh earlier in the summer. These trees will be here for the next 40 or 50 years as long as we take care of them, so it’s very lasting. These trees will benefit the community.”

The trees were planted along Centre Avenue and Wylie Avenue in the Hill District, directly outside of the Hill House. A well-known location throughout the city offering integrated social services to the community, the Hill House was more than pleased to be receiving an environmental gift.

“Planting these trees along the Centre Avenue corridor changes our main drag tremendously,” said Vice President of Neighborhood Development for the Hill House Terri Baltimore. “The trees that we’re planting up on Wylie Avenue around our Blakey Program Center just makes it a more welcoming space. We’ve been trying to green our campus and this is one step toward doing that. We’re really happy to have this done.”

The event was just another way for the Penguins, alongside NHL Green, to give something back to the community. All parties involved were thrilled with the amount of interest and support that the project garnered.

“One of the things that’s really cool about my job is I get to work with volunteers,” Baltimore said. “People who don’t have a direct connection to a neighborhood who are willing to come in and give up their time and their energy is really fantastic. We couldn’t have done this today without the Penguins or without Tree Pittsburgh”

The trees around the region continue to shed their leaves, but the leaves on these particular trees will be a lasting reminder of yet another successful event hosted by the Penguins and the city of Pittsburgh.

“(The NHL is) very committed to seeing that in each community where we host an event, we say thank you for your hospitality,” LaCaruba said. “Thank you to the Penguins fans and thank you to Penguins organization. We didn’t forget about you and we hope that these trees represent the NHL’s commitment to our local environment.”

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