In 2009, Mayor Michael A. Nutter released the Philadelphia Greenworks initiative, with a goal of creating a more environmentally conscious community. The six-year plan, created with the intention of making Philadelphia the “Greenest City in America” (Phila Gov), focused around several target achievements. Some of these included lowering the city government energy consumption by thirty percent, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by twenty percent, and reduce vehicle miles traveled by ten percent (Phila Gov).
The Morris Arboretum, located on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania, was established in part to inform citizens about the relationship between the environment and society. In doing this, they also encourage harmonious interactions between these two elements of our culture. The building that is now the arboretum was once known as Comtpon and served as the summer home for siblings John and Lydia Morris, whose father founded the I.P. Morris Company (Morris).
The Morris Arboretum mission statement declares, “Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania is a historic public garden and educational institution. It promotes an understanding of the relationship between plants, people and place through programs that integrate science, art and the humanities” (Morris Arboretum). Within the arboretum are approximately 12,000 plants, trees native to a plethora of countries spanning several continents, over twenty gardens, and habitats containing various species of birds, among other attractions.
In 1792, Pennsylvania Quaker John Bartram purchased a extensive 102 acres of land from Swedish settlers (Bartram). Shortly thereafter he began collecting a wide variety of plant species. The site of the garden was continuously tended by various relatives and colleagues until 1891, when Philadelphia took ownership of the land (Bartram). In 1893, the John Bartram Association was founded and began managing what is know recognized as Bartram’s Garden in Philadelphia. Bartram’s son, William was the naturalist traveler who authoredTravels through North & South Carolina, East & West Florida, etc., now known as Bartram’s Travels, a work that had a power influence on the English Romantic writers Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats, and Shelley, among others, in their early images of the American landscape, flora and fauna. Today, the 18th-century style garden that his father began still covers 45 acres of land situated along the Schuylkill River, just outside downtown Philadelphia.