When I turned 60 my son gave me a T-shirt as a birthday gift. It is bright green with a squiggly sketch of trees and, written in cursive, is the word "trees". He said, "Mom, it’s your color...and your name!"
My love of trees runs deep. I taught my young kids: “If you are lost, hug a tree”. It’s more than a directive for a lost child to stay put. A tree is a comfort, protection, cover, shade from the heat, retreat from danger, and home to birds, bugs and bees.
Once again, I am considering the value of our urban trees. Two 100-year-old oak trees near my house died this month and were ground to mulch. I think about the loss of not only their beauty and comfort and shade and habitat, but the loss of the carbon sequestration such huge trees provided. A newly planted tree will need decades to become an equal workhorse.
City pruning around power lines has begun in my area. Is there an arborist approving these workers’ choices? A small group of neighbors is asking this question.
Pasadena has been known as a city of trees - 60,000 it claims - but our Climate Action Plan calls for planting only 500 trees this year.
If our city followed the City of Los Angeles’ aspirational goal to plant 90,000 trees by 2021, quadrupling their usual 23,000 annual tree plantings, scaled for the size of our city, our goal could be to plant 3,000-4,000 trees by 2021.
The City of LA hired an arborist, Rachel Malorich and obtained a grant specifically to achieve this goal. What a great investment, as Ms. Malorich said to ”reduce urban heat island effect, and... obviously reduced rates of asthma. And then (there's) that feeling of positive social well-being."
This fall, the Pasadena Audubon Society and the Arroyo and Foothills Conservancy will host a public discussion and film on trees as habitat and the state of our urban forest. Watch this space for details.