Friday, April 1, 2016

Benicia Tree Foundation to maintain trees at Joe Henderson tomorrow

(Originally published in the 4/1/16 edition)

   In 2012, the Benicia Tree Foundation planted 80 trees at Joe Henderson Elementary School with the help of parents, students and faculty. Now that the establishment phase has passed, volunteers will be returning to the site Saturday to keep the trees in good shape. 
   The Benicia Tree Foundation works to strengthen the community by promoting the importance of planting and maintaining trees. As of December, the foundation has planted 639 trees in Benicia with ongoing projects taking place at the Veteran’s Hall, Benicia Housing Authority, Benicia Armory and six of Benicia Unified School District’s seven schools.
   In 2012, the foundation planted 80 trees at Joe Henderson, mostly coast live oaks and cedars. In the intervening time, Benicia Tree Foundation secretary Steven Goetz says, members and volunteers have worked to help the trees grow especially with the drought that has been occurring since the trees were planted.
   “What we’ve been doing since then is checking on them a couple times a year to make sure they’re growing well,” he said. “We’ve provided supplemental irrigation during the dry season for the first three years.”
   However, Goetz says the trees are now able to survive off rainfall, so participants are mainly going to make sure the trees will remain in good condition. They will add mulch where needed, do light pruning and check on tree stakes and remove them if they are no longer needed.
   “Adding mulch around the base of the trees will help retain moisture in the soil so the trees will be less stressed during the dry season,” Goetz said. 
   Goetz believes it is important for people to take care of the trees in their community because it will contribute to their well-being.
   “They help capture and sequester carbon into the soil, reduce the amount of stormwater that runs off into our street, provide shade around the play field at the schools and help clear the air,” he said.

   The tree maintenance day will take place from 9 a.m. to noon, tomorrow at Joe Henderson Elementary, located at 650 Hastings Drive. Tools and instruction will be provided, and participants should bring gloves if they have them. Children under 14 must be accompanied by an adult, and all participants will have to sign a waiver. No experience is necessary. Interested participants should RSVP by calling 745-4675 or emailing A meeting point will be provided after an RSVP is given. The day will be canceled in the event of rain. 

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