Fall is a great time to plant trees in San Diego. The temperatures are cooling, reducing stress on the trees and the winter rains will nurture new roots. I’m going to give you some reasons why trees are so vital to our community and then give you tree planting events to join this fall. If you are a planner, note that San Diego Tree Week is April 22-28. There will be several tree planting events on Saturday, April 27 which happens to be Rotarians at Work Day. If your club does not already have plans, consider joining one of these events.   Click "Read More" to continue.
Our urban forest is a major workhorse for us, our community and our environment. Tree planting is an obvious and meaningful Rotary project because it touches all seven areas of focus. It’s also a project that will give back to us all for years to come:  
  • Most importantly, trees improve our environment by cleaning the air and water and absorbing rainwater to reduce flooding, run off and landslides. Our urban canopy is the largest carbon sink in our city, taking in and storing carbon from the air, mitigating climate change. Trees provide food, habitat, and shelter for local wildlife, improving biodiversity. 
  • Trees help our community by providing shade, making our region cooler and reducing the heat island effect of hard city surfaces. This can reduce demand on our energy grid in the summer. Large tree canopies add economic value to communities and have been shown to decrease violent crime and conflict rates. 
  • Trees improve our health, wellbeing, and longevity. Surrounding urban forests are proven to decrease physical and mental illnesses. Trees around schools help students focus and concentrate, improving test scores. 
The San Diego Region needs a larger, healthier tree canopy to be more resilient to climate change. There are many excellent options to plant and care for trees in our community through governmental and private organizations. I have found that our San Diego County Park Service is dedicated to our urban forest and offers many options all year.  Volunteer coordinator Tony Richardson (Anthony.richardson@sdcounty.ca.gov) is eager to welcome and work with Rotarians. You can view the full volunteer calendar here.  The Solana Beach Eco Club participates in regular maintenance and planting at the San Dieguito County Park every month and has watched the park flourish over the years. It’s been remarkably rewarding work and a similar program can be designed for your club. 
Last year on Green Friday (the day after Thanksgiving), we had an excellent turnout for a district-wide planting event at Lamar Park. We had Rotarians from San Diego Coastal, La Mesa Rotary, SB Eco, Encinitas, and San Diego Rotary clubs. Those 35 trees planted benefited from the big winter rains and are now thriving. This year, instead of a single project, I’d like to suggest that all clubs consider a project that suits their schedule and have listed options below with SD County Parks and Rec. Not only is it a great Rotary service project, but by putting on our Rotary t-shirts and joining with the community, we get a chance to shine and possibly recruit new volunteers to Rotary. 
  • Saturday, October 28: Tree Planting at Goodan Ranch Visitor Center - Sign Up
  • Sunday, October 29: Tree Planting at Dos Picos County Park - Sign Up
  • Friday, November 24: Tree Planting at San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve - Sign Up
  • Friday, November 24: Tree Planting at Dos Picos County Park - Sign Up
  • Saturday, November 25: Tree Planting at Goodan Ranch Visitor Center - Sign Up!  
  • Saturday, November 25: Climate Action Day at Otay Valley Regional Park - Register Today!  (Tree planting - hoping for 100+ trees) 
  • Sunday, December 31: Tree Planting at Collier County Park - Sign Up!
Jenny Parker, SBECO Club, DES Tree Ambassador. Please email me for any questions at jenny@jparkermd.net