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In about six months, it will be Christmas and, at this halfway point, some people celebrate “Christmas in July.” In the spirit of the summer Christmas season, or in order to give those shopping for me plenty of time, as a municipal arborist in the Abingtons, I thought now would be a good time to publish my Christmas wish list. My list moves from municipal to institutional wishes, then to commercial and residential wishes.

Wish 1. I would like to see Clarks Summit pass a landscape ordinance that would ensure that when commercial and residential properties change hands, the properties are brought up to minimum green standards. One example of this would be to ensure parking lots are not endless stretches of pavement, but include green space with trees.

Wish 2. I would like to see South Abington, Glenburn, and Waverly townships all achieve “Tree City U.S.A.”


Wish 3. I would like to see Abington Heights take a new approach to maintaining its acreage: How much less land could be mowed? How much more land could be converted to unmowed meadows or forests?

Wish 4. I would like to see Heritage Baptist Church, Elan Gardens, the Scranton School for Dear and Hard-of-Hearing Children and Baptist Bible College (BBC&S) and Seminary work together to create a green infrastructure in two ways. First, I would like to see them provide walking paths connecting the residential areas on Fairview Road with the residential areas on both ends of Venard Road and the lovely walking path around the BBC&S pond. Second, I would like to see Venard Road return to a country lane feel by planting street trees along its entire length. Not only would this beautify the neighborhood, but it would create safety by slowing traffic and reducing crosswinds and drifting snow in the winter.

Wish 5. I would like to see the Talbots, Summit Square and Abington Shopping Center shopping areas retrofitted in green; including improved landscaping with trees. This would not only would create aesthetic and commercial value for the tenants (for whom, as studies suggest, customers would travel further, linger longer and spend more money), the trees would reduce the summertime heat island effect and extend the lifespan of the pavement by reducing the ultraviolet radiation that deteriorates


Wish 6. I would like to see the Bedford St./Center St. industrial/residential interface softened by an intensive planting of street trees. Not only would the trees beautify the area, they would also filter out the dust that collects on neighborhood homes.

Wish 7. Finally, I would like to see more residents participating in “green-up” efforts. I would like to see more activism and more treescaping, among other things. In short, I would like to see more gratitude for and implementation of the natural beauty we who have eyes, ears, noses and nerves have been blessed to experience.

Can you imagine what the quality of life in the Abingtons would be like if I got every wish on my list? This would be a Christmas present for everyone in the Abingtons for generations to come. For now though, enjoy the gift of enjoying nature this early summer.

Joshua Arp is an ISA-certified Municipal Specialist, a Clarks Summit Tree Commissioner and an operator of a landscape maintenance business. He can be reached at