By Jennies Tran
With the rains slowing down, we are in the last stretch before the end of the planting season. Under the Cal FIRE grant, the City of Richmond and Groundwork Richmond have facilitated the urban tree planting efforts of several organizations. Between The Watershed Project and Richmond Trees, we have planted nearly 70 trees and are planning to add an additional 50 during the month of March. It has been a hectic few months, but we are steadily inching closer to our goal of planting 150 trees in the City of Richmond.
The experience of planting trees has been a beautiful sight to see in our local Richmond neighborhoods. Not only will the community be able to enjoy the shade, blossoms, and beauty of the trees for years to come, but these trees will also bring people together. Already, I have observed strengthened social ties between community members through tree planting. The success of the Adopt-a-Tree program has come from community members prompting other neighbors to realize the great potential of adopting a tree. The buzz of planting trees allowed us to provide tree canopy for neighborhoods, and community members are slated to reap the healthful benefits of improved air quality. Studies have shown that natural environments can enhance health. A particular study conducted in Toronto, Canada found that, on average, having 11 additional trees on a city block had benefits comparable to living in a neighborhood with a $20,000 higher median income or being 1.4 years younger.
The improved air quality in Richmond is a crucial aspect of tree planting to measure. With the newly developed TreeTrak application, we can obtain and enter information for each one of our trees, ranging from the location, height, and diameter. Along with this information, we take photos, which are saved in the application with the measurements. We then synthesize this information and produce data that shows how much carbon has been sequestered through a carbon calculation. For our trees to continue to store carbon, they must survive and grow. We take pride in correctly planting our trees to withhold strong winds, and put tree care at the top of our priority list. With the new TreeTrak application, we can track maintenance history, which enable us to take necessary measures to ensure tree vitality. During our routine tree checkups, we get a chance to interact with community members and hear of how they engage with their trees.
We are thrilled to help facilitate a big tree planting event on March 19th from 9 AM – 12 PM, and all are welcome to volunteer. We will be installing trees in Lucas Park. For more information or if you want to register a group for this event, please email Jennies at Jennies@thewatershedproject.org.
Free snacks and refreshments will be provided. Please remember to bring a reusable water bottle and wear comfortable clothing.
We will provide tools and gloves. If you have your own, feel free to bring them!