As a child living in Beirut, Abdallah Tabet longed for the sight of trees. Several decades later, working as a landscape architect in Philadelphia, he volunteered to be a “tree tender” with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. He is one of thousands of people across the US who volunteer to help plant, prune and care for trees. In New York City, more than 1,100 people belong to the Department of Parks and Recreation’s “Super Stewards” program. Mindy Maslin, a former project manager at the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society who founded the tree tender program nearly 30 years ago, says that during her tenure, more than 6,500 volunteers graduated from the eight-hour Tree Tender training and collectively planted more than 30,000 trees. “It’s hard to save the rainforest, but you can save your community, which is part of your city and part of your world,” she says. “That way, you’re helping the larger world.”

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