FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
Contact: Christine Falvey, DPW, 415-554-6931
Rose Dennis, Recreation & Park Department, 415-831-2782
Mayor’s Office of Communications, 415-554-6131
*** PRESS RELEASE ***
Mayor Newsom Kicks Off Arbor Week with Tree Planting
on Van Ness Avenue to honor civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks
Mayor Announces Results of 5,000 Tree Planting Goal
and 2006 Arbor Day Activities
San Francisco, CA – Mayor Gavin Newsom announced today that his yearly goal of planting 5,000 trees since last Arbor Day has been exceeded by 265. The trees have been planted by city agencies, volunteers and nonprofit agencies since Arbor Day 2005.
Mayor Newsom made the announcement today at Van Ness Avenue & Jackson streets where a 17-foot Cork Oak Tree was delivered and planted by ValleyCrest Companies to kick off Arbor Week 2006 in the median on this busy transportation corridor. The mayor dedicated the tree to civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks, who passed away late last year.
San Francisco will celebrate Arbor Day all week with activities beginning today and culminating on Saturday, March 18, 2006 with a large volunteer tree planting event and family day at Larsen Park in San Francisco’s Sunset District.
“The only way to truly make San Francisco a green city is to set and meet ambitious goals. I am proud to announce today that we have exceeded our goal,” said Mayor Newsom. “From now on, when people think of green cities, San Francisco will be at the top of the list,” he added.
Volunteers and participants will gather at Larsen Park on Saturday, March 18, 2006, San Francisco’s Arbor Day, and will plant street and park trees. There, Mayor Newsom will help plant a unique Camperdown Elm, only the third tree of its kind planted in a San Francisco park. The only other two trees were planted in Golden Gate Park in the early 1900s under the supervision of John McLaren, one of the city's early park superintendents and the man who is often credited with implementing ingenious methods of greening the barren, windswept sand dunes on the city's west end. By the end of Arbor Week it is anticipated that 5,583 trees will have been planted.
San Francisco has ranked low with an average of less than one tree per every resident, as compared to other cities, which have as many as of three trees per resident. Arbor Day activities support the mayor’s Livable Streets Initiative, which aims to make San Francisco a world leader in city greening by 2010 by taking a green approach to city infrastructure management and ensuring that greening not only beautifies, but increases public safety, reduces noise and airborne pollution, cuts city maintenance costs, improves resource efficiency, reduces water consumption, and enhances wastewater management.
Arbor Day is celebrated throughout the world during various times of the year and is a nationally-celebrated observance that encourages tree planting and care.
“As we continue to plant trees throughout our City, San Francisco residents, particularly as they travel along our transportation corridors, will begin to enjoy the many benefits that trees bring to our city,” said Mohammed Nuru, Deputy Director of Operations. “Significant trees like this will join the list of memorable San Francisco landmarks, such as our famed hills, historic cable cars and stately bridges.”
Last year on Arbor Day, the city worked to green the city’s Bayview District, which historically has had a low tree canopy, by planting 160 street trees there. This year, Friends of the Urban Forest will continue to plant trees in the Bayview neighborhood on Friday and Saturday to add another 60 trees to the area.
Several city and nonprofit agencies are co-leading the events, including the Mayor’s Office of City Greening, the Department of Public Works, the Recreation and Park Department, SF Environment, Friends of the Urban Forest, San Francisco Parks Trust, Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services and the San Francisco Unified School District. Norcal Waste Systems, Inc. is a sponsor of Arbor Day activities.
“Increasing species diversity of the park's tree canopy is a key goal of my department's agenda,” said Yomi Agunbiade, General Manager of the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department. “Arbor Day is an excellent opportunity to highlight the need for more trees and to celebrate the work that goes into caring for our trees year round,” he added.
DPW has increased its number of watering trucks to maintain the new trees and is now planting larger 24-gallon trees, which require less startup maintenance compared to the smaller 15-gallon trees.
For volunteer information, and a complete schedule of the week’s events or to learn about planting trees in front of your home, visit
www.sfarborday.org or call 415-55-GREEN.