Conservancy honors landscape architect Robert Fleming

Posted 6/15/23

The Chestnut Hill Conservancy paid tribute to Fleming with a gift he truly would value: A grove of bur oaks in Pastorius Park.

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Conservancy honors landscape architect Robert Fleming


The Chestnut Hill Conservancy recently paid tribute to landscape architect, educator, and sustainability advocate Robert Fleming for all his work on behalf of the community with a gift he truly would value: Planting a grove of bur oaks in Pastorius Park.

The award is to acknowledge Fleming's contributions to greening Chestnut Hill, including his recent involvement in tree-planting efforts at Pastorius Park and his work on Germantown Avenue in the 1980s.

The grove, consisting of three majestic bur oaks (Quercus macrocarpa), was selected to symbolize Fleming's remarkable stewardship and dedication to preserving the environment. Known for their hardiness and value to wildlife, bur oaks are a favorite of Fleming, who has always emphasized providing shade and sustenance for future generations.

The tree planting announcement followed the Chestnut Hill Conservancy's prestigious Architectural Hall of Fame Gala on June 3, where Fleming was honored for his outstanding stewardship. During the event, Fleming was taken by surprise when it was announced that the grove had been recently planted to commemorate his invaluable contributions to conservation. Although he had been watering the bur oaks, he had no idea they were intended to honor him.

"It's the perfect gift," he said.

Lori Salganicoff, the executive director of the Chestnut Hill Conservancy, together with John Verbrugge of Arader Tree and Tracy Gardener of Friends of the Pastorius Park unveiled a plaque honoring Fleming's contributions to the Chestnut Hill community and the Wissahickon watershed at a celebration in Fleming’s home.

"Rob is such a visionary, helps the Conservancy, and in the community, broadening our understanding of how to maintain and live in this beautiful community so that our children and their children can enjoy it in the same way that we have," said Salganicoff. She continued, "the representation of this grove has a lot to do with your teaching and what you're trying to see happen in our community."

Verbrugge praised the choice of bur oaks, which are tolerant of city smoke and other air pollutants and also drought tolerant, due to a deep tap root system.

"Bur oaks are rare to see in general, and when you do see them, they are such a majestic plant,” he said. “And now that we have three more in a grove of trees when we're losing oak trees and other mature trees, it is a great plant and selection." 

The trees were donated by Arader Tree Services, Gene and Charlie Dilks, and the Chestnut Hill Conservancy, and were planted with the assistance and support of Friends of Pastorius Park.