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Volunteers plant trees in Southwest Philadelphia to get a head start on Earth Day

Volunteers kick off Earth Day early by planting trees in Southwest Philadelphia
Volunteers kick off Earth Day early by planting trees in Southwest Philadelphia 02:15

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Volunteers are getting a head start on Earth Day by taking time to beautify our communities.

A crowd came out to Southwest Philadelphia to help with planting the last tree of nearly 60 with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society as part of their Earth Week event.

Some of those volunteers included the CBS News Philadelphia team.

"It was really fun to invite our whole station and our colleagues to participate in something that's making a difference in our city and out in the suburbs," Executive Producer Community Impact Ashley Johnson said.

Before a tree can thrive, volunteers had to get their hands dirty from prepping the roots to digging up a hole to watering the plant.

Each step eventually led to the tree's new home at the Mount Moriah Cemetery.

"We do pretty much all our spring planting work over the course of one week," Tim Ifill, with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, said. "It takes a lot of prep work and a lot of logistics."

Employees with the Environmental Protection Agency like Gina Soscia also came by to help improve their community.

"There's a general lack of trees in some of our neighborhoods," Soscia said. "But it's so important for there to be healthy communities and vibrant communities in the city and trees help provide that."

Aside from planting trees, volunteers also worked to prepare about 1,100 of these trees to be sent to around 75 different communities throughout our area. The trees will be planted by this weekend.

"They're going to be in neighborhoods, which really do need these trees," Certified tree tender Himan Shuvyas said. "So, it's almost instant gratification where I'm putting in this work today and we're going to see the benefit."

Ifill said the trees aren't just nice to look at, they also can improve air quality, reduce heat and positively impact people's mental health.

"It's really important for us to mitigate those negative impacts of the lack of trees by planting more trees and caring for the trees we have," Ifill said.

It's hard work that's giving back to the place we all call home.

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