Between November 2016 and April 2017, Richmond Trees hosted or co-hosted six tree planting events (plus we co-hosted Arbor Day in October, see below). In total 92 trees were planted — 32 trees in parks and 60 street trees throughout various neighborhoods in Richmond.
We partnered with The Watershed Project for three of the six events, and we also had participation from EarthTeam at one planting. It’s great to have high school students with us, and there are some great young people who have been volunteering with us for a few years.
One new thing this year was dealing with the rain! Our policy is that we plant in light rain, but we reschedule if it is really stormy. Sometimes, planting conditions are not good because the ground is too wet from a previous storm. We have to do what is best for the trees’ long-term health. So, a couple of our events were rained out this season! But we still got the job done by having smaller pop-up planting parties. And a few dedicated volunteers did “extra credit” plantings in between our planned events.
No matter what the weather, our planting events are fun and incredibly rewarding. Doing something to improve your city feels good. Doing it with a group of people with a common vision is powerful.
As a 100% volunteer-powered group, our volunteers are our richest asset. We were glad to see new and familiar faces, each one a valuable member of the Richmond Trees community.
At our January 28, New Year’s planting where we welcomed the Year of the Rooster, Richmond Standard stopped by to see what we were doing: http://richmondstandard.com/2017/01/30/richmond-trees-holds-volunteer-planting-event/
Arbor Day — October 15, 2016 (aka Trees and Tacos!)
Arbor Day was everything that we had hoped! It was fun, uplifting, and exciting. Just what we have come to expect when people come together to celebrate Richmond’s urban forest and put a little sweat equity into making it grow. The weather even turned out to be lovely despite some ominous forecasts earlier in the week.
The storm held off long enough to give us a beautiful morning to plant 29 new trees. Ten trees were planted in the pocket park at the entrance to the Richmond Greenway at South 42nd Street and Ohio Avenue, and 19 street trees in the surrounding Pullman and Park Plaza neighborhoods. We were honored to co-host and provide volunteer support for this event with our friends at Groundwork Richmond. It was truly rewarding to work alongside the City of Richmond staff, PG&E, the National Park Service, the Green Team, and local residents of all ages. We were also joined by a great group of doctors and staff from the pediatric department at Kaiser Permanente Pinole. We loved hearing from Mayor Tom Butt and local celebrity Ranger Betty Reid Soskin. We got to sing Happy Birthday for Betty’s 95th birthday!
After the planting and the speeches, we shared a meal together of delicious tacos. It was the perfect way to conclude the celebration! We went home feeling deeply satisfied and fulfilled.
Planting Season 2015-16
This planting season, Richmond Trees had planting events every month from December thru March (plus we were one of the partner groups for the Arbor Day celebration in October, see below). We planted a total of 71 street trees.
Our work parties are always fun events that bring the community together. There were reliable regulars and friends from other groups like The Watershed Project and STOP/YouthWORKS. And there were lots of new faces! Passionate tree-planters are moving to Richmond and they bring their rich experience from working with similar groups in their old cities (Friends of the Urban Forest in San Francisco and Tree People in Los Angeles). And we had newcomers who had never planted before and jumped right in! It is especially exciting to see families volunteering. Children understand that trees are important, and they will be able to watch the trees grow and remember, “I did that!” What a great gift to give them.
One highlight of the planting season was our Superbowl 50 planting party. After planting 19 street trees, we celebrated by tossing a football around and enjoying some delicious fresh crepes. We were very happy to work with a new partner group, Shri Guru Nanak Dev Sewa Society International.
Richmond Pulse surprised us and stopped by to see what we were up to during our January 9 planting! Check out this great article: http://richmondpulse.org/2016/01/16/plant-a-tree-help-richmond-go-green/
Caring for our trees after they are planted is a critical part of what we do. The fact that we have a small, dedicated team of volunteers during our monthly tree care walks ensures that our trees survive and thrive. We can always use more help with tree care. So, for our tree care walk in November, we were thrilled to be joined by 22 pediatricians from Kaiser Permanente Pinole that reached out to volunteer with us. We joined forces with SolanoPLAY to help with landscaping and provide tree care for over 40 trees in the neighborhood.
Arbor Day – October 24, 2015
For the second year in a row, Arbor Day was celebrated as part of Make a Difference Day. We think that was perfectly appropriate, since tree planting should be an integral part of a park renovation. Trees provide shade and wildlife habitat, and simply make the parks more beautiful.
The number of groups and individuals that came together to make the event a success was pretty impressive. In total, about 650 volunteers worked to rebuild John F. Kennedy Park. The renovation included planting 70 trees in the park and on neighboring streets. Groundwork Richmond took the lead on the tree planting, and we were glad to work with them. We also worked with volunteers from The Watershed Project, EarthTeam, and AmeriCorps, as well as City of Richmond staff. The trees were paid for by PG&E and the Trust for Public Land.
For our second annual Run For the Trees event, team members ran in the 5K and 10K races of the Hilltop Family YMCA Home Front Run! Highlights included getting a 2nd place win in the 10K (Paula!) and a 3rd place win in the 5K (Jackie!), as well as achieving some serious personal fitness goals for other team members – some participating in their first race! And all while raising money for planting more trees in Richmond and supporting the YMCA youth programming in our local community. Most importantly, we had LOTS of fun!
During four fun work parties on December 14, January 11, February 15, and March 29, we planted a total of 65 new street trees in Richmond! We also helped Groundwork Richmond members with their planting event on March 7 in Booker T. Anderson Park.
Due to budget constraints at the City of Richmond, our group also took over the financial burden of the Adopt-A-Tree program. We paid for the trees with proceeds from fundraising and a grant from the Rose Foundation. Our long-time partner Richmond Rotary purchased the trees for the event in February and came out to help us plant! Our involvement in the Adopt-A-Tree program expanded in other ways as well. In addition to organizing the work parties and buying the trees, we also assisted the City with site assessments, tree selection and communication with the tree adopters.
The Rose Foundation grant was for tree planting and youth development, so we were able to pay stipends for the young people at YouthWORKS, and we really enjoyed working with them! This season also marked the start of a partnership with EarthTeam and the involvement of Richmond High School students participating in the EarthTeam program.
It has been a season of growth for Richmond Trees!
Arbor Day – October 25, 2014
Every Arbor Day is an inspiring experience, and this year’s celebration was no exception!
It was wonderful to see so many volunteers at the rebuilding of Parchester Park. Over 300 volunteers participated in the event, and the energy was electric! The day started out chilly and rainy, but a huge rainbow spread across the sky as we got to work. There were so many smiling faces! And so many groups came together to make it happen – Livie & Luca, The Trust for Public Land, the City of Richmond (the staff did an amazing job organizing this event), Richmond ESC (Excellence Serving our Community), the Boys & Girls Club of El Sobrante, and Richmond Friends of Recreation were all event sponsors.
Thirty volunteers worked with Richmond Trees to plant 37 trees and shrubs in the park. The trees were funded by the City of Richmond, PG&E, and The Trust for Public Land. Volunteers from each organization helped with the planting. Groundwork Richmond and YouthWORKS, our good friends and collaborators, were also there in force.
It was Make a Difference Day, and that’s exactly how it felt – both in the physical work that we did and in the feeling of goodwill that occurs when people come together for the common good.
Marina Bay Half Marathon “The Riveter” – June 22, 2014
Richmond Trees participated in our first “Run for the Trees” at the Marina Bay Half Marathon “The Riveter.” Volunteers ran or walked in the 5k, 10k, and the Half Marathon races. For some of us, it was the first time we had ever run in a race. We had a blast participating in an event along the beautiful bay right here in our own city. Plus, friends and family sponsored us to participate, so we raised about $1,500 for planting trees!
Thank you to everyone who participated in the race, cheered us on, and made sponsorship donations!
Presidents’ Day Tree Planting – February 15, 2014
Richmond Trees celebrated Presidents’ Day by planting 15 trees in the North & East neighborhood. Volunteers met on Humphrey between 32nd and 34th Streets, dispersed to plant trees in the area, and then returned for entertainment, crafts for kids, and refreshments. Steve Seskin serenaded us with his music and then we heard from speakers, including Mayor Gayle McLaughlin, Police Chief Chris Magnus, and County Supervisor John Gioia, all ardent supporters of Richmond Trees.
Planting Season 2012-13 – We stepped up the tree planting program with several planting parties this season. At these events we had participation from SolanoPLAY, Richmond Rotary Club, PG&E, Making Waves Academy, MA’AT Youth Academy and Latina Center and, of course, the dedicated volunteers from Richmond Trees.
Harvest Festival and Tree Planting — November 3, 2012 – Over 30 trees were planted along Roosevelt Avenue and the surrounding area in a partnership with Richmond Trees, Groundwork Richmond, the City of Richmond and PG&E. After planting, the volunteers celebrated at a Harvest Festival on 35 Street where several people spoke about the many benefits of street trees. Police Chief Chris Magnus spoke about how more trees can reduce crime. He believes “An attractive neighborhood enhanced by the natural beauty of trees sends a message that the people who live there care and are engaged with what’s going on around them. This helps reduce crime and improves safety for all residents.”
Arbor Day — October 20, 2012 – Arbor Day was celebrated by planting 28 trees including 20 redwoods in State Court Park near Kennedy High School. This is another important step in the Richmond Renaissance and involved participation from Groundwork Richmond, SolanoPLAY, Urban Tilth, The Watershed Project and Richmond Trees.
Fundraiser — June 9, 2012 – We screened two showings of Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai, an inspiring documentary about the woman whose work planting 35 million trees in Kenya earned her the Nobel Peace Prize for 2004 and catalyzed a social and political transformation, one tree at a time.
Arbor Day — October 22, 2011 – Our BIG DAY in 2011 was the Arbor Day tree planting celebration in the North & East Neighborhood. Together with the City of Richmond we planted over 40 trees, enjoyed healthy snacks, and listened to speeches of encouragement and appreciation from various civic leaders.