For immediate release: August 23, 2017
Contact: Rachel Gordon, (415) 554-6045
VOLUNTEERS JOIN CITY CREWS TO PLANT 500 STREET TREES IN ONE DAY
Event Kickoff: 9 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 26, Balboa High School, 1000 Cayuga Ave.
San Francisco, CA – Public Works, in partnership with District 11 Supervisor Ahsha Safai and Friends of the Urban Forest, will do something that’s never been done in modern-day San Francisco: Plant 500 street trees in one day.
Hundreds of volunteers will help plant trees on Saturday, Aug. 26, in the Excelsior, Outer Mission, Crocker-Amazon, Ingleside and other District 11 neighborhoods to complement the new Street Tree SF initiative that ensures the ongoing maintenance of the City’s growing urban forest.
More than 15 species will be planted Saturday in the City’s southern neighborhoods, including bronze loquat, southern magnolia and East African yellowwood trees.
Public Works and Friends of the Urban Forest, uniting for what may be the largest one-day tree-planting in San Francisco history, will oversee separate planting zones and teams of volunteers to get 500 street trees planted in a single day.
“The streets and sidewalks of our communities are greener, livelier and healthier when they are lined with trees,” said Mayor Ed Lee. “Now that we have the resources to fully support our street trees, we can transform our neighborhoods in ways that residents can appreciate.”
Public Works will host a 9 a.m. kickoff rally on Saturday at the Balboa High School courtyard, 1000 Cayuga Ave., to get volunteers fired up before they get to work.
“This will be a monumental day in San Francisco,” said Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru. “There’s a lot of room for more trees in a great city like San Francisco, especially now that we have the resources available through Street Tree SF to properly care for our urban forest.”
This tree-planting workday comes on the heels of Proposition E, the San Francisco ballot measure approved by 79 percent of voters last fall that sets aside $19 million in General Fund revenue for Public Works to maintain the City’s inventory of nearly 125,000 street trees and to repair any tree-related sidewalk damage.
Although the Street Tree SF program does not fund the planting of trees, Supervisor Safai secured additional City funding to grow the urban forest in District 11.
“When I visited 7,000 homes door-to-door during my campaign, I made a commitment to the voters of my district that we would plant more than 2,000 trees during my term in office,” Safai said. “Saturday’s planting of 500 trees is one big step in the direction of keeping that promise. I am so proud our district will be the first to experience a historic tree planting of this magnitude.”
Planting 500 trees will be challenging, but with the hands of 300 volunteers, this feat will be not only attainable, but fun.
Public Works crews will be teaming up with neighbors, merchants, youth groups and service organizations, such as Rotary Club of San Francisco, which is providing some 80 volunteers to help grow the City’s flourishing urban forest.
San Francisco is one of the world’s greatest cities, but it has fewer trees per capita than many of its counterparts. “Expanding the City’s urban forest not only will help make San Francisco a healthier city, but will dramatically increase the beauty of our neighborhoods,” said City Administrator Naomi Kelly. “Trees help clean the air, calm traffic and deter sidewalk parking. In a single day, we will be able to positively impact our neighborhoods for years to come.”
Added Dan Flanagan, executive director of the nonprofit Friends of the Urban Forest and chair of the San Francisco Urban Forestry Council, “When we come together like this to plant trees, we build community and make a positive difference for ourselves and for future generations."
The volunteer workday will run from 9 a.m. to noon and will conclude with a free, communal meal for Public Works volunteers.
More information about volunteer opportunities with San Francisco Public Works can be found at www.sfpublicworks.org/volunteer.
About San Francisco Public Works: The 24/7 City agency cleans and resurfaces streets; plants and nurtures City-maintained street trees; designs, constructs and maintains City-owned facilities; inspects streets and sidewalks; builds curb ramps; eradicates graffiti; partners with neighborhoods; trains people for jobs; greens the right of way; and educates our communities.