Have you stopped to smell the roses lately? If not, take some time to step outside and enjoy the trees in your neighborhood.
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection has provided the City of Richmond a second grant to plant 500 trees for the city’s underserved communities within the next two years. The vision is 10,000 trees in the near future. Through the collective efforts of three nonprofits—The Watershed Project, Groundwork Richmond, and Pogo Park—and in partnership with other community-based organizations such as Richmond Trees, we are excited to launch the second phase of our tree planting program to green Richmond. The Watershed Project has been participating in the Adopt-a-Tree program since 2012, and this year has committed to adding 150 trees to the Coronado, Santa Fe, Booker T, and North Richmond neighborhoods. These trees will join the 200 trees already planted during the first stage of the project. By planting trees, we are transforming our urban environment and bringing nature into a historically industrial setting.
Trees transform the landscape and benefit both humans and the environment. The pollution faced by residents living in urban communities will be filtered by trees. Trees sequester carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, acting as a storage space for such gases and improving our air quality by emitting oxygen. Trees act as a natural cooling system, shading homes to beat the summer heat. By reducing air conditioning usage, energy is also being saved. During the rainy season, the tree roots help to slow and absorb storm water and alleviate flooding. The soil also acts as a filtering system, helping to absorb pollutants before they reach the storm drains – which go directly to our ocean.
What does it take for an urban tree to be planted and thrive? The ability for an urban tree to survive depends on many factors, including finding the most optimal planting site and implementing a follow-up maintenance plan. Before a tree is planted, The Watershed Project staff will evaluate the area to make sure that any infrastructure, such as power lines, is avoided. The local utility company will check underground pipes and gas lines to ensure safe planting. Once the site is chosen, the planting can begin. The Watershed Project will work with residents to maintain the health of the trees.
While planting trees may seem small, the impact will be large for our community for many years to come.
If adopting a tree sounds like something you are interested in, please fill out this Adopt-a-Tree form and we will assess your sidewalk strip and work to install a tree. For more details please take a look at this flyer and/or email Jennies@thewatershedproject.org. Another way to get involved is to join our volunteer events to plant trees at our upcoming work days.