1. Welcome to Houston Park

    The underserved Houston neighborhood in Visalia had no public gathering places or recreational facilities. The new Houston Neighborhood Park, planted by Urban Tree Foundation in partnership with California ReLeaf, represents the hard work of numerous volunteers from the community coming together to create positive change in their neighborhood. More than 280 volunteers were on hand to make the park opening a success. Children were given an educational presentation about urban forests and the benefits of trees. Over 90 children in attendance were surveyed on their knowledge and opinions of trees. The Houston Neighborhood Park planting event planted 43 trees and...
  2. Change is Coming to Two California Communities

    Over the past few weeks, I’ve been lucky enough to work with some very dedicated people in two of California’s largest cities – San Diego and Stockton. It’s been amazing to see both what needs to be accomplished in these cities and how hard these individuals are working to make sure the work in done.   In Stockton, volunteers are facing an up-hill battle. Last year, the city declared bankruptcy. It has one of the highest homicide rates in the country. Trees are the least of this community’s worries. Yet, there is a group of citizens there who know that...
  3. Partnering to Protect the Bay Area’s Water

    California ReLeaf recently supported the recruitment and training of two interns for The Watershed Project’s Tree Team Project who will act as Richmond Rain to Roots program ambassadors in Richmond’s Iron Triangle and Sante Fe, two low-income, high-crime neighborhoods in the city.   Training for the interns included 20 hours of basic watershed awareness curriculum that included urban forestry concepts and benefits, climate change topics, storm water pollution and an introduction to green infrastructure solutions. An additional 16 hours was spent training them for the outreach portion of the program. The interns learned how to promote the tree-planting program both...
  4. San Bernardino Youth Renew Parks and Streets

    Southern California Mountains Foundation’s Urban Youth Tree Corp Project, funded through grants made possible by California ReLeaf, CAL FIRE, and the Environmental Protection Agency, was a very successful and effective effort to engage inner city, at-risk youth in urban tree care at the local parks and on the streets. 324 youths were recruited and trained through 32 environmental education, tree care, and urban forestry workshops through the project.   The focal point of the project was tree care and field education and experience for the Urban Conservation Corps (UCC). The Southern California Mountains Foundation provides a workforce development program that...
  5. Sustainable Communities Planning Grant Program Releases Updated Draft Guidelines

    The Strategic Growth Council has released draft guidelines for the Sustainable Communities Planning Grant and Incentives Program, which offers grants to cities, counties, and designated regional agencies to promote sustainable community planning and natural resource conservation. This draft includes substantial changes to how applications are assessed.   Below is a summary of the proposed changes. For more details on these explanations, please see the Workshop Draft.   Strongly prioritize greenhouse gas emission reduction projects. Measure progress with actionable and valuable indicators based on reliable quantifiable or qualitative data. Prioritize project implementation by focusing on projects likely to be implemented in...
  6. General Tips for Watering Trees

    Young trees should be watered deeply on a weekly basis to encourage deep root growth. To do this, set your hose on a slow trickle for several hours at the base of the tree or use a soaker hose around the tree.   Mature trees should be watered deeply beyond the drip line (the edge of the tree’s canopy). Roots extend past this line. This table gives watering needs for mature trees.   Trees in or near lawn areas with frequent, shallow watering may develop surface roots.
  7. A Walk in the Woods

    Last week, I had to walk a few blocks to drop off some paperwork at a downtown office. It was a lovely day, but it was made even better because of the beautiful trees in Sacramento.   There were lots of people out and about – enjoying their lunch breaks, taking walks with friends and coworkers. I wondered to myself how many of these people would be enjoying the afternoon outside if these trees didn’t shade the sidewalks.   Each one of those people, myself included, was experiencing increased well-being simply by walking through their urban forest. A walk downtown...
  8. Making Urban Forestry Part of California’s Water Conversation

    Water can be a contentious issue in California’s communities. With resources becoming more limited and restrictions increasing, it’s important to make sure that urban forestry finds it’s place as one of the solutions Californians turn to to solve their water problems. Join us on Wednesday, May 15 from 11:00 a.m.-noon to hear from experts in the field and also hear case studies from an organization that has produced superior water conservation programs.   Speakers: Alf Brandt, Principle Consultant, California State Assembly Edith de Guzman, Research & Analysis Manager, TreePeople Deborah Weinstein, Director of Policy, TreePeople
  9. California Needs Urban Forests

    Ask anyone and they’ll most likely tell you they love trees. California’s cities and towns need trees, but not just to beautify the landscape. Trees do so much more!   Click on the infographic below to visit a fully interactive version on our website. The next time someone asks you, “Why trees?” you’ll have some pretty great answers.