Prince Albert of Monaco visits his mother's hometown of Philadelphia, takes trip to the zoo

Thursday, October 26, 2023
Prince Albert of Monaco visits his mother's hometown of Philadelphia, takes trip to the zoo
Prince Albert of Monaco visits his mother's hometown of Philadelphia, takes trip to the zoo

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Prince Albert II of Monaco returned to his mother Grace Kelly's hometown of Philadelphia on Thursday as his foundation works to support local conservation and environmental efforts.

The prince's first stop was at Williams Moore Reed Memorial Park, where he spoke about his foundation's plan to donate $130,000 to support the Philly Tree Plan.

"I'm honored to be here this morning, on this beautiful morning, as we support the Philadelphia Parks and Recreation and the city of Philadelphia with the implementation of the Philly Tree Plan," Prince Albert II said.

Released in February, the Philly Tree Plan is the city's first-ever plan to grow and care for Philadelphia's urban forest.

The Prince's foundation has invested money that will be used to cultivate a more tree-friendly culture across the city, at places like Williams Moore Reed Memorial Park.

"Imagine this park when these trees are a hundred feet tall and casting shade and providing oxygen for the people in this neighborhood," John B. Kelly III, the president of the U.S. chapter of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, said.

City officials said the foundation's grant will further the work of the 10-year strategic plan to build an urban forest and tree canopy in Philadelphia.

In addition to a tree planting and greening project at Williams Moore Reed Memorial Park, the grant will also allow for street tree planting along Allegheny Avenue and nearby commercial corridors, yard tree giveaways in North Philadelphia, and support for community groups to care for newly planted trees.

"This grant will allow us to plant and provide establishment care for two years for trees not only here at Williams Moore Reed but along key commercial corridors," Vanessa Garrett Harley, deputy mayor of the Office of Children and Families, said.

The money, according to the city, will also aid in the implementation of the Love Where You Live Greening Plan for Nicetown and Tioga.

The cause is something that means a lot to Prince Albert. His foundation is committed to protecting and progressing the planet's health.

It's also something officials say means a lot to Philadelphia.

"Thanks to the support provided by this generous grant, we're able to regrow our urban canopy in some of the highest priority areas of the city - working toward environmental justice for all," Orlando Rendon, commissioner of the Philadelphia Parks & Recreation Department, said.

Erica Smith Fischman, of the Philadelphia Parks & Recreation Department, told Action News, "Trees are really important for the livability of our city. Our city has 20% tree canopy, but it is not equally spread out across the city."

For his second stop of the day, Prince Albert II visited the Philadelphia Zoo.

During his time there, he toured The KidZooU. The wildlife academy serves as an education center and an up-close and personal children's zoo.

Dani Hogan, the Philadelphia Zoo's director of mission integration, spoke about the prince's visit.

"We knew his foundation funded our programs, but we didn't expect to meet him," Hogan said.

According to Hogan, funding from the prince's foundation accounts for a significant amount of the operating budget for the zoo's conservation education efforts, both on-campus and in schools.

The funding, Hogan said, is especially important because the zoo is a privately owned and operated nonprofit organization.

"That type of foundational support is crucial for us to be able to deliver our mission, especially to the students in Philadelphia, which our three programs - the UNLESS Contest, Wild Connections, and West Philadelphia Zoo Scholars, all deeply support," Hogan said.