While the National Arbor Day observance is celebrated on the last Friday in April, many states have implemented state-recognized Arbor Days that reflect the best time for planting in their region.
California doesn’t only celebrate Arbor Day; the state has a whole week dedicated to educating Californians on the value trees provide to healthy cities. In 2011 the California State Assembly and Senate approved Resolution ACR 10, a measure that recognized how vital trees are to the state, and declaring the establishment of Arbor Week. Arbor Week—celebrated March 7 to March 14—encourages residents to observe the week with tree planting activities and programs.
One of the various benefits of the state celebrating Arbor Week is that it allows like-minded organizations the opportunity to work together and organize events on a larger scale. California is home to 143 certified Tree City USA communities, 10 Tree Line USA Utilities, and four Tree Campus USA’s. We wish we could recognize each celebration. Below are highlights of a few of the Arbor Day events that took place last year.
Sacramento, designated a Tree City USA for 37 years and Growth Award recipient 10 years, was listed as one of the 10 Best Cities for Urban Forests. The city launched a 30K Tree campaign in 2012—an effort to plant 30,000 trees in one year throughout the Sacramento region. During a 20-year period, 30,000 trees could collect 8.5 million tons of carbon, capture 11 million gallons of storm water, and remove 110,000 pounds of pollutants from the air.
To kick off Arbor Week and celebrate the completion of the 30K campaign, the Sacramento Tree Foundation and Joint Venture joined the mayor in a ceremonial tree planting at Pacific Elementary School. Later in the week locals were invited to McKinley Park for a community picnic. The celebration included tree tours, a chance to make ‘I Love Trees’ buttons, bead bracelet making, and music.
San Jose—a Tree City USA for 31 years—worked with local non-profit California ReLeaf to plant trees in schools and neighborhoods across the city. Additionally, seniors and disabled residents were given trees to plant in their yards and park strips and had help planting them from Our City Forest—a local non-profit involved in engaging the community in the maintenance of the urban ecosystem.
Cupertino held a combined Earth Day/Arbor Day festival that included 100 partners comprised of nonprofit organizations and businesses. Booths offered tips, demonstrations, and activities centered on creating a sustainable lifestyle. It was estimated that 5,000 to 7,500 community members attended the event.
Can you imagine your city without trees? Neither can we! How are you involved in maintaining your community’s tree canopy?