Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn announced Pennsylvanians interested in supporting streamside buffer and urban tree plantings can help through the newly established Keystone Tree Fund.

At the fourth annual Riparian Forest Buffer summit held virtually, Dunn also presented the second annual Watershed Forestry Leadership Award to David Wise, Watershed Restoration Manager at the Stroud Water Research Center.

“Across the commonwealth we are seeing growing understanding and interest in planting trees as a natural solution to many issues including for climate resilience, improving water and air quality, and helping with flooding,” Dunn said. “The Keystone Tree Fund gives everyone the opportunity to support that work.”

The Keystone Tree Fund includes a voluntary $3 check-off box on Pennsylvania driver’s license and vehicle registration online applications to buy, plant, and maintain more trees across the commonwealth.

The fund also can accept direct donations that will support the existing TreeVitalize and Riparian Forest Buffer programs through DCNR.

Donations can be made out to “DCNR c/o Keystone Tree Fund,” and mailed to:

PA DCNR Bureau of Forestry
ATTN: Rural and Community Forestry
400 Market St., 6th Floor
Harrisburg, PA 17105

The Watershed Forestry Leadership Award celebrates exemplary leaders with significant, positive impacts that advance watershed forestry practices in Pennsylvania.

David Wise of the Stroud Water Research CenterOpens In A New Window is a pioneer in buffer work and a contributor to countless working groups, committees, and teams focused on increasing buffer implementation.

Wise has contributed significantly to common techniques and innovations in buffers and is inclusive of all ideas, from budding to seasoned professionals alike.

“Dave Wise firmly believes and consistently demonstrates that our work on buffers is better together,” Dunn said.

DCNR is leading the effort involving many partners from all levels of government and many non-profits who also plant and fund streamside buffers.

Trees are one of the most cost-effective tools for improving local water quality.

Streamside tree and shrub plantings filter the runoff of pollutants from the land, control erosion, slow down runoff during heavy rains, provide privacy and shade, cool stream temperatures, and improve fish and pollinator habitat.

Pennsylvania has a goal of planting more than 86,000 acres of stream buffers statewide to improve rivers and streams in the commonwealth, and help the Chesapeake Bay.

Find more information about forest buffers along waterways on the DCNR website.