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Tree Pittsburgh publishes children’s book about urban forests

Jill Greenwood
October16/ 2014

A group of students at the Environmental Charter School in Frick Park are hoping that their newly discovered love and appreciation for urban forestry will inspire others.

Tree Pittsburgh and 75 students from the school created a concept book titled: If We Were to Plant a Tree. The book will be marketed and sold on Amazon for $17.95.

The book introduces urban forestry to children and details why trees are important, with featured illustrations from 4th graders at the ECS, said Maggie Graham, communications coordinator for Tree Pittsburgh.

According to Graham, “This book teaches children that the urban forest is everywhere around them–from the tree in front of a house in Troy Hill to the tree in the more densely canopied Hayes.”

Graham also adds, “We want children to learn that it’s important to take care of our trees. After all, they directly benefit our city in many ways–from improving our air quality to our mental health and even our economic development.”

Alex Duffy, a 4th grade teacher at ECS, said the idea for the book developed over several weeks last spring. An author named Dar Hosta was working with Tree Pittsburgh on a book idea centered on urban forestry when Hosta introduced the idea of involving young students.

Duffy said the original plans called for 30 dedicated students to illustrate and collage pictures for the book, but Duffy’s grade level had 75 students. So Duffy worked with Joe Stavish, the Tree Pittsburgh Education Director, to make sure each student had a role in creating the book.

Students took their lessons in Frick Park, which is in ECS’ backyard, Duffy said. The kids used found and recycled items to illustrate the book.

“It is very exciting that student collages of urban forestry will be on bookshelves and marketed in order to teach others about such a vital environmental concept within urban areas,” Duffy said. “We are so grateful for this once in a lifetime opportunity for our students.”

Jill Greenwood

After spending 20 years working in journalism across the country, Jill returned to her native 'Burgh in 2005. When not parked in front of her laptop writing or searching for good stories, she's checking out cool happenings in her North Side neighborhood or shuttling her daughter to and from soccer fields.