It’s that time of year where we reflect on things for which we are grateful, whether that be people, pets, places, or things. This is also a time framed by giving to those in need and just causes to make where we live, and our greater global community, a better place. Being #GreenFriday, I have been reflecting not only on who I am grateful for (including Daffodil), but all the green space that helps cool, beautify, and help clean the air in our city. As such, I have been looking into ways to give back this holiday season and help ensure that others can continue to enjoy the beautiful greenscapes we have here in San Diego.
Not only are trees nice to look at, but they have also been found to enhance stormwater catchment and management, reduce local temperatures which reduce energy usage needs, improve air quality, and decrease ambient noise levels. However, per the Balboa Park Conservancy, almost 20% of the park’s over 15000 trees are listed as dead, dying, or in poor condition due to diseases and drought. Due to conservation efforts, this should not spell the end for the park’s canopy. Helping foster restoration and care efforts a grant from Cal Fire has provided 500 new trees for planting throughout the park. Bolstering restoration efforts, youth volunteers from Urban Corps have been working to get these trees in the ground, starting the cycle of replenishment for the surrounding foliage. Through these volunteer and additional education efforts, the Conservancy is fostering the next generation of arborists and park caretakers. Yet, they cannot continue these efforts without the support of donors and grants from organizations willing to support their cause. Looking into various ways to give back to help improve our park, I found many opportunities available, such as either making donations or becoming a Tree Steward planting and cataloging trees through the Balboa Park Conservancy.
Setting my sights outside of the park and where I take my pup for walks, it’s easy to see that there are plenty of urbanized and open spaces missing any canopy cover. This dearth of tree cover is estimated to be 60-70% below what it should be for our region, giving me pause for what I can do to help not only improve the look of my neighborhood, but also improve our local environment for everyone around me. Luckily, organizations like Tree San Diego exist to help facilitate tree planting, watering to establish deep roots, and community education projects, among other efforts, which aim to increase the range of our local urban canopy. Through funding and/or volunteering efforts, there are plenty of ways to get involved working to help improve our quality of life throughout the county.
However, this is not the only way to give back and make sure the trees for which we are grateful are restored and have their reach expanded. Through efforts by the City of San Diego, any resident can make a request for a tree free of charge through their Free Tree SD program. By applying for a free tree, the city will help me determine where my tree should go, which tree species is best for where I live, and my tree’s watering schedule until its roots establish themselves. Though I alone cannot restore lost tree cover throughout our city, this program gives all of us the chance to both beautify our streets and foster new growth for which we can be thankful for in the future. That is something I can be extra grateful for this Thanksgiving!
Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving my fellow San Diegans! Live Long, Live Green, and Love Where You Live in SD!
As always make sure to check back every Friday for more editions of Green Friday posts!