Dozens of Woodland citizens including City Council members, Woodland Tree Foundation members and volunteers of all ages helped plant over 70 trees around the city Saturday morning as part of the AMPlifying the Urban Forest initiative.
The initiative was created by California Urban Forests Council, a nonprofit corporation, with the goal of planting nearly 2,000 trees across California in one day.
David Wilkinson, president of the Woodland Tree Foundation, said the event was a great opportunity to build community by getting lots of people — old, young and anyone in between — to work on a project to improve the city.
“Cal Poly San Luis Obispo has selected species that are from warmer climates… that are more adaptable to a warming climate and a drier climate,” Wilkinson explained regarding the trees planted Saturday. “That’s what makes this particular Arbor Day here unique.”
Although many of the trees aren’t native to Woodland, he noted that it is important to look at different species that are more resilient to climate change as California deals with drought and higher temperatures.
Wilkinson also said the trees will help add to the tree canopy in the community, which in turn will foster more outdoor activity during the hot summer months.
“I’m sure that the people that live in Spring Lake will be very happy to have more shade and beauty here in this beautiful park,” he said referring to Rick Gonzales, Sr. Park.
Roughly 40 trees were planted at Rick Gonzales, another 20 at Jack Slaven park and several others around the Spring Lake community adding up to around 70 trees total, according to Wilkinson.
Ken Trott, a board member of the Woodland Tree Foundation, added that trees are also one of the best ways of offsetting the impacts of climate change.
“As the trees get bigger and shade the roofs and homes, it conserves energy and cools the homes,” he said.
Trott also noted that the foundation tries to advertise the availability of trees to Woodlanders interested in planting trees on their property.
“We get people in the neighborhoods around town requesting stress and we go out and plant them,” he explained.
Trott and Wilkinson founded the Woodland Tree Foundation and have since been working with the city to maintain Woodland’s trees while also growing them where they are needed.
Other organizations were also involved in the event and helped by planting trees or by making the materials available. Arborist Curtis Worth, for example, works for West Coast Arborists who provide professional tree maintenance and management services to cities across California including Woodland.
“We helped with tree delivery, steak delivery and digging the holes,” the Roseville resident said.
Worth noted that, locally, his company provided help to Woodland, Sacramento State University and Stockton during the Saturday event. However, West Coast Arborists were also involved in dozens of cities across the state in the efforts to help plant 2,000 trees in one day.
“It’s a great community event to get out and meet your community members that live around here,” he added.
Susan Vogelesang, secretary for the Woodland Lions Club, said March is environmental awareness month for the club.
“We want to participate to promote environmental awareness,” Vogelesang explained. “And so this is one of the projects that we participated in along with the regional park projects to promote environmental awareness throughout the community.”
She added that trees are also great for people’s health and by cleaning our air while also providing shade for people to more comfortably do exercise.
“We as lions want to give back to the community as much as we can by participating,” she added.
However, most of the work would not have been possible without the large amount of support provided by volunteers who heard about the event and decided to show up to lend a hand.
Kathia Ascencion, a student at Woodland Community College, said she came out to volunteer because one of her professors put the link to the event on one of his presentations.
“I do want to spend more time volunteering since I am free most Saturdays and Sundays,” she began. “I think it’s important to plant more trees because… it cleans up the air.”
Jaime Mestas, a junior at Woodland High School, brought his dad and brothers to the event to participate while getting some volunteer hours needed to graduate done.
“I was looking for volunteering opportunities and I found the Woodland Tree Foundation,” Mestas explained. “I thought it was pretty cool to come out and help.”
Tobin Finato, another student from Woodland High School, attended the event because he is part of his school’s Key Club, which helps get students involved within the community.
“We find events and just try to get ourselves out there,” he highlighted.
Finato said he was happy to participate because the trees will help combat climate change and add more shade to Woodland.
Every volunteer who attended the event was entered into a raffle to win a guitar made of recycled urban forest wood built by Taylor Guitars, which is an attempt to demonstrate how city trees can continually enhance city life even after being chopped down.