Arbor Day

La Cañada welcomes new resident to ‘Tree City USA’

The city of La Cañada Flintridge celebrated Arbor Day by panting trees in front of the city's skate park on Tuesday, May 5, 2015. City officials including mayor David A. Spence, right, helped plant the Carrotwood tree. (Raul Roa / Staff Photographer / May 5, 2015)

The city of La Cañada Flintridge celebrated Arbor Day by panting trees in front of the city’s skate park on Tuesday, May 5, 2015. City officials including mayor David A. Spence, right, helped plant the Carrotwood tree.
(Raul Roa / Staff Photographer / May 5, 2015)

In keeping with a tradition befitting an official “Tree City USA,” Mayor Dave Spence and other officials planted a tree Tuesday in a ceremony recognizing May 5 as Arbor Day in the city of La Cañada Flintridge.

The young carrotwood tree was one of three being planted that day near the city’s skate park on Cornishon Avenue as a symbol of a larger effort to encourage the planting and care of trees. A sturdy Australian native species, Cupaniopsis anacardioides was selected because the city’s map indicates Cornishon is where carrotwoods belong, said Gonzalo Venegas, the city’s facilities and maintenance superintendent.

As proof, Venegas pointed out the surrounding carrotwoods lining both sides of the street. About 10 years old now, they were also planted for the celebration, he said. Arbor Day was celebrated nationally on April 24.

For every tree planted in the annual gesture, the city plants hundreds more as part of the Arbor Day Foundation’s “Tree City USA” program, of which La Cañada has been a part for 27 years. In that time, a total of 21,500 trees have been planted locally, according to Evan Conklin, deputy forester for the Los Angeles County Forestry Division, who attended the event.

After reading a resolution recognizing the occasion, Spence joined City Manager Mark Alexander, Public Works Director Edward Hitti and other city staff in the ceremonial planting of the tree.

“It’s always a pleasure to plan and dedicate a tree in the benefit of the city and celebrating Arbor Day,” Spence remarked. “I urge all citizens to plan trees to gladden the hearts and preserve the well-being of present and future generations.”

Arbor Day Celebration in Oceanside, CA

Union Tribune


Originally posted here in U-T San Diego 01:18p.m. Sep 20, 2013
Oceanside — The A’s had it in Oceanside last week.First there was Arbor Day, where students from a local high school and college planted trees in Buddy Todd Park, and then there was the Airport, where 150-some land vehicles shared the tarmac with planes of all kinds at the annual Summer Fly-In/Car show.The city sponsored the Arbor Day ceremony and environmental resource fair Thursday at the 19-acre park, Oceanside’s oldest.For the resource-fair part of the activities, those setting up information booths included the MiraCosta College Horticulture Department, West Coast Arborists, Davey Resource Group, Western Environmental Consultants (working for San Diego Gas & Electric), Cal Fire, San Diego Regional Urban Forests Council and Agri Services.Many of them had free stuff to give away — such as toothpick holders, magnets, mulch or little containers of plastic bags to pick up dog doo.“Whoever knew there could be so many kinds of mulch?” commented one visitor as he surveyed a display by Agri Service, which runs an operation on city El Corazon land turning green waste into compost.

A poster proclaimed “San Diego County has 6,687 farms — more than any other county in the United States.”

Eileen Turk, parks and recreation division manager for the city, noted that the public voted to name two trees — the coastal oak and the golden medallion — official trees of the city.

Lynette Short from Cal Fire presented Oceanside with a Tree City USA award for the sixth consecutive year and told how Julius Sterling Morton started Arbor Day in the Nebraska Territory in 1872. Officially, the date falls in April, but it can be celebrated any time there are trees for planting.

Mayor Jim Wood told the students that later on, when they lie under a tree at the park, they can remember that they planted it.

Also at the event, John Mahoney demonstrated chain-saw wood carving with an array of sculptures ranging from fishes and owls to totems. He noted they were being saved from the landfill.

After instructions from city parks workers, students from Ocean Shores High School and MiraCosta College planted 11 trees — crepe myrtle and redbud.

The fly-in, car show at the airport replaced an annual barbecue that didn’t bring out a lot of people, according to Gordon Nesbitt, president of the sponsoring Oceanside Airport Association, a booster group.

Saturday, it was a different story.

“Actually we had 147 registered show cars (and perhaps a dozen that slipped in without registering/paying),” Nesbitt said. “We estimated attendance at around 1,400 visitors.

“All proceeds are going toward the Jack Cassan Memorial Flight Scholarship for local high school students,” Nesbitt said.

Every type of vehicle was displayed.

Hot rods and vintage cars vied for attention with flatbed trucks and fancy Ferraris. One license plate declared a 1932 Ford roadster “Fun 4 Pop.”

Some had rumble seats, and many sported neon colors such as “furious fuchsia.”

A Ford De Tomaso Pantera displayed a sign declaring it had “the body of a sexy Italian exotic with the heart of an American muscle car.”

One car towed a teardrop camping trailer, a vintage vehicle in itself.

REACH, the new medical helicopter service contracting with the city, was on display, and all the while, a calliope aboard an old carpenter’s tow truck played, Tsunami Skydivers demonstrated their skills, biplanes and sleek one-seaters took off from the runway, and radio-controlled jets zoomed overhead.

“It’s one of the nicer shows because of the aerial (component),” said Julie Walker as her husband, Jeff, watched the model planes, and she stayed with their 1968 Plymouth GTX classic muscle car on display.

The air show — and the prizes — set this event apart, Walker said, noting that plaques for winning vehicles in various categories carried aeronautical names such as “Most likely to plow an airfield” and had the likes of spark plugs or airplane instruments attached.

Lola Sherman is a freelance writer. Contact her at lola@

Annual Santree Fest celebrates trees and community in Santee


Written by Stephen Prendergrast Originally posted here  in the Examiner.

Photo credit: SPrendergast


For the eleventh straight year Santee celebrated its status as a Tree City USA, a designation the city is rightly proud of, and for the eighth year the Santree Fest brought together members of the community to celebrate. Over the years Santree Fest and the earlier Santee Arbor Day Celebration have provided the opportunity for residents to plant hundreds of trees around the city. This year the festival took place at Town Center Community Park East as part of a much larger day of community celebration. Also taking place in the area were the YMCA Healthy Kids Day, the Santee Firefighters April Pools Day and National Dance Day.


“Santree Fest is the City of Santee’s annual celebration of Arbor Day, which we do in association with our National Arbor Day Tree City USA status,” explained Santee Recreation Services Manager Sue Richardson. “Part of the requirements to be a Tree City USA is to hold an Arbor Day celebration. What started about eight years ago as a tree planting along Magnolia with community groups has grown into a larger, almost all-day festival celebrating Earth Day and Arbor Day together.”

View slideshow: Annual Santree Fest celebrates trees and community in Santee

Santee celebrated the annual Santree Fest in recognition of the city’s eleventh year being named a Tree City USA
Photo credit: SPrendergast

This year’s Santree Fest featured continuous entertainment, including Box Canyon Band with toe-tapping bluegrass music. Dancers from the Santee Recreation Program, Expressions Dance and Movement Center, Jean’s Dance Studio and Charlene’s Dance performed in celebration of National Dance Week. A children’s area included inflatables, a Frisbee golf course and other activities. In addition, vendors provided a wide array of foods, goods and services.

With a focus on the environment, the day included the planting of approximately 38 trees along with shrubs and other landscaping around Town Center Community Park East. The San Diego River Park Foundation led a cleanup walk along the nearby San Diego River as part of the I Love a Clean San Diego Creek to Bay Project, collecting trash from the east edge of the park all the way to Cuyamaca Street.

“This is the largest event we have had so far,” said Richardson. “Originally we went from site to site around the city finding locations such as parks and school that needed trees, so we have done them at Mast Park and Cajon Park School. We did one at Rio Seco School on the west side of the Town Center Park and last year we worked on the north side of the park from Cuyamaca along Riverwalk Drive. We are still growing Town Center Community Park, even though the construction was done two years ago. There are still areas that need shade, and as we’ve used the park we wanted to add more shade.”

One of the highlights was the planting of a special tree honoring the fallen members of one of the city’s adopted Marine units, the 2nd Battalion 1st Marines from Camp Pendleton. Santee has also adopted Heavy Marine Helicopter Squadron 462 from Miramar MCAS. The tree is located near the beginning of the recently completed Marine Memorial Trail that circles the park. Mayor Randy Voepel and representatives from both units were on hand for the dedication.

Photo credit: SPrendergast


“It has been absolutely fantastic,” said recently crowned Miss Santee 2013 Emily Zobel. “We were so honored to meet some of the military who came out to help plant some of our trees. We were told that one tree represents 29 fallen military, so it’s fantastic that we can have that in our city.”

Asked what she enjoyed most about the day, Miss Santee Teen 2013 Melissa Lawrence said, “I like how all the families come together and are friendly with one another. I like all the kiosks and stand they have – it gives you a feel for what is here in Santee.”


One of the more creative and interesting displays at Santree Fest was a collection of woodcarvings done by “Big John” Mahoney of West Coast Arborists. Mahoney is not your average woodcarver – instead of traditional tools he employs a gas-powered chain saw for his artwork. When not carving some of the large sections of trees that come in from the company’s work, Mahoney runs the firewood and furniture divisions at the company’s recycling center.

“A few years ago we caught a guy stealing firewood who was a tiki carver,” Big John explained when asked how he began his artistic career. “We called him out on it and he didn’t admit to it, but a week later he came in and said he couldn’t sleep at night and asked what he could to do make it right. I said, ‘Trade me a chain saw carving lesson and we’ll call it good.’ That was two and a half years ago and I’ve been doing it and having fun ever since.”

For Santree Fest Mahoney carved a tree with “Santree” at the base, but he has also created traditional tiki heads, fish and eagles. His current eagle, the third he has carved, is an amazing work that stands a good five feet tall from wingtip to wingtip.

As part of the entertainment, Expressions Dance and Movement Center, a local dance studio, partnered with the City of Santee and Santree Fest to help celebrate National Dance Week, which runs from April 26 through May 4. In honor of National Dance Day the studio participated in a nationwide dance flash mob performance, joined by local school children who had learned the dance during special assemblies. At the end of the performance the dancers “danced their shoes off” to support the non-profit Project Warm Feet.

The day also gave the City of Santee the opportunity to do a soft kick-off for the new Invest From the Ground Up program, which will be rolled out this next week at the Santee Lakes Green Day at the Lakes celebration on May 4. The new program will encourage Santee residents to plant trees in their easements to provide additional shade throughout the community.

Photo credit: SPrendergast

“We want to promote the value and awareness of trees in the community and to help promote Arbor Day,” Richardson said. “We put up tags that calculate the value of trees to the community. So tree awareness and Earth Day awareness are our main goals for the festival, but part of the Community Services Department’s mission is to bring people together in the community and this is one of our best events.”

With events such as Santree Fest, the annual Santee Celebrates the Fourth and the Summer Concert Series, bringing the community together is something the department does very well.

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