Saturday was Arbor Day in Coronado. As it has for the past 27 years, the city celebrated by planting trees in the city’s public spaces – parks, medians and parkways. The event was organized by the Street Tree Committee, whose mission is to “maintain, improve, renew and protect the urban forest.” The committee was aided by Coronado Public Services, who did much of the heavy lifting, including procuring the trees and distributing them to selected locations around the city, where the committee determined a tree was needed.
Close to 100 volunteers, ranging in age from five to 76, gathered at the gazebo in Spreckels Park ready to grab a shovel and head out to plant a tree. There were members of scout troops, elementary school classes, and a huge contingent from the United States Navy.
“The Navy provides the muscle needed to put this together,” said Shannon Player, arborist and long-time committee member.
Most of the sailors said they were there because they received an e-mail from Master Chief Matthew Logsdon. For the past couple of years Logsdon has sent out an e-mail to various commands at Naval Station San Diego. “He’s great at spreading the word,” committee member Anne David said.
While Logsdon spread the word, a desire to help was the main reason many said they came. “It’s a way to give back to the community,” said Matthew Walter, who has lived here for 18 years, serving under different commands.
John and Kitty Sexton have been participating for more years than they can count. “One of the pleasures is walking around town and seeing the trees we’ve planted grow from a yearling to a mature tree,” John said.
The kids seemed to be having the most fun. “I love to garden and I’ve never planted a tree before,” five-year old Monyae Cupton said before heading out with his mom and friend Kynneai, also five.
Another was tickled to have seen a worm. Leo He proudly posed with his certificate and shovel. “The kids often name the trees they help plant,” David said.
The volunteers were joined by city dignitaries – Mayor Richard Bailey and Council members Bill Sandke and Carrie Downey. Bailey officially proclaimed it Arbor Day and the first tree went into the ground.
It was a Chinese Evergreen Elm, placed next to the park’s playground. It replaced a huge Eucalyptus tree that had to be removed last year. The loss of that tree robbed the playground of its shade. The elm is the first of a row of trees the Street Tree Committee plans to plant around the playground to restore the shade, Player said.
Planting it also served to demonstrate tree planting protocol – dig a hole, loosen the roots, set the tree in the hole. Once schooled, volunteers spread out around the island with shovels in hand.
Arbor Day is part of the city’s commitment to preserving, protecting and expanding its urban forest. Coronado has been a tree city for 31 years, with some 10,000 public trees. This Saturday 26 more were added.