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City plans Arbor Day 2008 celebration

Dig this Saturday event at Central Park.

Posted: April 6, 2008 3:02 a.m.
Updated: June 7, 2008 5:02 a.m.

There are only a few select cities in the United States that can say they are passionately dedicated to preserving the natural beauty and air quality of their city. As the nation continues to grow and expand in all directions, business and housing expansions frequently come at the expense of local forest preservation. The city of Santa Clarita, however, is a city devoted to being environmentally and tree-friendly.

On Saturday, everyone in the community is invited to attend the city's 19th annual Arbor Day celebration, which serves to educate residents about the benefits of trees as part of the world-recognized Arbor Day holiday. This year's celebration marks the 18th consecutive year that Santa Clarita will be honored by the National Arbor Day Foundation with the prestigious "Tree City USA" award, and the fourth year the city will receive the "Growth Award."

To kick off the event and receive the honors, the state forrester, Abigail Srader, will be presenting the awards to Mayor Bob Kellar as part of the opening ceremonies.

At the celebration, the city will be handing out 1,000 trees, 1,000 bags of mulch and 150,000 free lady bugs to help control tree and garden pests and reduce the need for pesticides. The Energy Coalition will be in attendance and will give away two free compact florescent light bulbs to each household in honor of Arbor Day.

There will also be 10 free garden gourmet bins given to the first 10 people to sign up and attend the compost workshop. In addition, community volunteers will help to plant more than 60 new trees throughout Central Park.

Festivities include live entertainment, food, coffee ground garden mulch, tree-planting activities, children's events, a compost workshop, and tons of environmental exhibitors. There will also be a large slide, "moon bounce," rock wall, crafts, scavenger hunt, and fingerprinting for kids provided by the SCV Optimists.

Everyone in the community is invited to attend the free event put on by the city's Neighborhood Leaf Out Program, which is part of the city's Urban Forestry Division.

Started in 1990 by the city's Urban Forestry Division, the Neighborhood Leaf Out Program was designed to assist Urban Forestry with handling community needs. The program deals with group plantings by residents, schools, and local organizations. They organize the city's Arbor Day celebration and Oak Tree Day each year.

Each year the Neighborhood Leaf Out Program seeks to promote the overall "greening" of Santa Clarita through educational programs, tree plantings, and vigilant maintenance of local trees by staff and contract workers.

Leaf Out Program
Hundreds of volunteers sign up each year to contribute their time and knowledge to the Leaf Out Program. The combined efforts of city coordinators and volunteers result in the planting and care of hundreds of new trees in the community. This includes distributing literature and teaching local residents tree maintenance and care techniques.

In addition to sponsoring the Arbor Day festivities, the Neighborhood Leaf Out Program will be available to assist local residents who wish to plant new trees within the city's right of way. This service is available year-round. A variety of species is available, depending on the location to be planted, and the city will choose the most appropriate tree for the area.

Awarded the prestigious title "Tree City USA" by the National Arbor Day Foundation for 18 consecutive years, the city continues to prove its commitment to conserving natural woods and expanding the urban forest.

Statistics show that the city of Santa Clarita currently boasts more than 55,000 urban forestry trees within its borders. In 1987, the city became incorporated and assumed responsibility of approximately 30,000 urban forestry trees. In 20-plus years, the city has increased the tree population by more than 25,000 trees.

According to the National Arbor Day Foundation, a single tree, over a 50-year period, will generate $31,250 worth of oxygen, provide $62,000 worth of air pollution control, and recycle $37,500 worth of water.
Further, it takes 400 trees to remove the pollution a single car makes in a year.

Aside from simply producing oxygen, trees provide a multitude of benefits for a community. Trees remove harmful carbon dioxide and pollutants from the air, catch dust, provide energy-saving windbreaks and shade for buildings, insulate areas against noise, and reduce the amount of runoff from rainfall.

Vendor booths at Arbor Day will include Route 66 Classic Grill and Buon Gusto, an Italian eatery which will be selling its signature Italian ice. Live music from local band Mid Life Crisis will be playing on the main stage.

Educational activities
Families will enjoy Color Me Mine, who will have tile painting and stenciling activities, plus the city Parkmobile, which will conduct face painting and flower potting projects for kids.

An educational program will be available at the educational tent and will include speakers from the L.A. County Fire Department, who will talk about fire safety and fuel modification around the home; Castaic Lake Water Agency, who will speak about water conservation and fire resistant plants; and a master consulting rosarian from the Santa Clarita Valley Rose Society, who will discuss rose care.

Also, the educational tent will have demonstrations given by Commercial Tree Care, who will perform proper tree pruning, and by Stay Green, who will perform a large tree trimming demonstration. The L.A. County compost workshop will also be held in the educational tent.

Come join the city for the 19th annual Arbor Day celebration! Families are welcome, and everyone is encouraged to attend and learn about the importance of trees in maintaining our beautiful community.

For more information about this year's Arbor Day celebration or about the Neighborhood Leaf Out Program, please contact the city's Arbor Urban Forestry division at (661) 294-2567 or the city's Web site at

Robert Sartain is the arborist for Santa Clarita. His column reflects his own views, not necessarily those of The Signal. "Live from City Hall" is a column provided to The Signal by the city of Santa Clarita.


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