Greening the Streets of Our Community!

Arbor Day, October 22, 2011: Greening the Streets of Our Community
Richmond, California (October, 2011)

As an important part of the ongoing Richmond Renaissance that has beentransforming the city for the last few years, residents of the North and East neighborhood are spearheading a projectto provide street trees to its community through the city’s Adopt-a-Tree program.

On Saturday, October 22, 2011, from 9 am to 1 pm, residents of the City of Richmond will be celebrating Arbor Dayin the North and East by planting street trees, enjoying refreshments, and hearing from several prominent localspeakers, including Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin, regarding the importance of street trees to the health,happiness, safety and prosperity of the community.

The festivities will begin at 8:45 am at Arbor Day headquarters, located at 34th and Esmond, with a volunteerorientation about planting trees. The City of Richmond will provide trees, shovels, and safety glasses. Those whowould like to participate in planting trees are encouraged to bring their own shovels. Healthy, harvest refreshmentswill be provided by the North and East Neighborhood Council and local community sources.

From 9 am to noon, volunteers and participating City of Richmond employees will divide into four planting teams toput 30 new street trees into the ground on Esmond Avenue.

At 11:30am, Steve Seskin, songwriter, performer and North and East Richmond resident, will perform songs forchildren and adults of all ages.

At noon, everyone will gather at 34th Street and Esmond Avenue. Mayor Gayle McLaughlin will talk about therelationship between planting trees and reversing global warming; Police Chief Chris Magnus will address therelationship between the physical environment and public safety; and Chris Chamberlain, Richmond’sSuperintendent of Parks and Landscaping, will speak on the many beneficial roles of the urban forest. City ManagerBill Lindsay, Fire Chief Michael Banks and City Council members Nat Bates, Jovanka Beckles, Corky Booze, TomButt, Jeff Ritterman and Jim Rogers have all been invited to attend as well.

The effect of street trees on a community has perhaps been underestimated in the past, but, as Chief Magnus hascommented, “An attractive neighborhood enhanced by the natural beauty of trees sends a message that the peoplewho live there care and are engaged with what’s going on around them. This helps decrease crime and improvessafety for all residents.”

The Arbor Day events are a milestone of the grassroots project begun several months ago by residents of the Northand East neighborhood who formed a group to further the goal of greening the community with street trees. Headedup by Teri Katz and expertly helped by Lee Micheaux, the all-volunteer Tree Team has grown to 28 members, anddeveloped a very rewarding relationship with the City of Richmond, working closely with SuperintendentChamberlain and staff.

Canvassing the neighborhood door to door since July, the Tree Team has encouraged residents to take advantage ofthe city’s offer to provide free street trees to the neighborhood. The team also has passed along facts about thebenefits of street trees, which include

  • Removing carbon dioxide from the air and replacing it with oxygen, slowing global warming
  • Reducing air pollution by absorbing harmful chemicals
  • Providing an urban habitat for wildlife
  • Softening neighborhood noise
  • Reducing speeding traffic
  • Improving public safety
  • Increasing property values by 15% or more

Tree Team Committee Chair Teri Katz says of the group’s unprecedented effort, “The Tree Team project is anorganic outgrowth of an extraordinary community representing all walks of life in North and East Richmond.Through our grassroots work educating residents about the benefits of street trees, we are getting to know andappreciate each other, learning about trees and the environment, and building strong partnerships with City ofRichmond employees and elected officials. Planting trees is an investment in the health and well-being of ourcommunity now and for generations to come. Trees, along with birds, stars, and clouds, remind us that life isprecious and beautiful. They calm the mind, refresh the spirit, and rejuvenate the body without even trying.”

For more information about Arbor Day or planting neighborhood street trees in Richmond’s North and East, contactTeri Katz at 510-843-8844; teri@terikatz.com or http://www.ci.richmond.ca.us/

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