Free Trees from West Penn Power: A Real Ice Breaker
Homeowners, errand runners, deal hunters – even a few comedians – recently lined up in Jeannette, Pennsylvania, for free white flowering dogwood saplings handed out by the employee volunteer Green Team from FirstEnergy subsidiary West Penn Power.
People – many of them strangers unified by a common goal of greening up their own corner of southwestern Pennsylvania – chatted brightly in the warm sun as they waited for their dogwood saplings, a low-growing species that do not interfere with overhead electric lines.
Some asked questions. Others shared advice. A few cracked wise. Most seemed like proud new tree parents.
Overheard in the tree line on the corner of Clay Avenue and South Seventh Street:
- These put out red clusters of berries; the cardinals and blue birds go crazy over them.
- I can’t remember, do deer eat these?
- Can I get one for my brother? And my sister? And my…
- My boss said to get down here and get him some trees.
- Maybe next year you can give out money trees?
- Is that it? A little scrawny thing like that? No wonder you’re giving them away.
- The price is right!
- I’ve got a green thumb and I can grow anything. Especially weeds!
- I’ll take that one. I got farmer’s blood in me, and I say the straighter, the better.
- This was my mother’s favorite tree.
In three hours, all 300 saplings, including a few Charlie Brown trees, had found new homes, where they will beautify neighborhoods, provide shade and cover for songbirds and wildlife and absorb carbon dioxide to help combat climate change.
“Events like these not only benefit the environment, but also bring people together,” said Renee Menanno, a Green Team volunteer who handed out the saplings. “People interact in line. Some ask how to plant and nurture their trees. Others give advice and share their green thumb wisdom. These conversations create connections and strengthen the fabric of communities.”
The tree giveaway was part of FirstEnergy’s continued commitment to the environment and the communities served by its 10 electric utilities, including West Penn Power. Since starting this initiative, FirstEnergy has planted more than 40,000 trees across its service territory. FirstEnergy’s 2023 goal is to plant 20,000 more trees, with half going to underserved communities such as Jeanette.
MEDIA CONTACT: Todd Meyers, (724) 838-6650