March 15, 2017 (San Diego, Ca.) – The Balboa Park Conservancy, in partnership with the City of San Diego Park & Recreation Department, is planting 21 new trees around Morley Field Dog Park on Balboa Park’s east mesa this month as part of its ongoing efforts to diversify and augment the park’s urban forest. The planting will also provide a hands-on training opportunity for young tree stewards participating in a unique Tree San Diego certification program.
The planting of 14 jacarandas and seven Torrey pines, donated by The Village Garden Club of La Jolla, Jacaranda Project, will take place on March 22. The following day, March 23, fifth graders from Chollas Meade Elementary School will be trained by experts from Tree San Diego in the watering and care of new and mature trees as part of its San Diego Junior Tree Steward Certification program.
The tree steward certification program, funded in part by a grant from Cliff and Carolyn Colwell through The San Diego Foundation, will engage more than 100 youth to become tree caretakers and to promote the importance of healthy trees in every San Diego neighborhood, particularly those needing more trees.
“Having lost more than 50 trees since the beginning of the year due to winter storms, on top of a massive die-off caused by five years of drought, the Conservancy is determined to reverse the trend by planting more trees in Balboa Park each year,” said Balboa Park Conservancy President and CEO Tomás Herrera-Mishler. “I am very grateful to San Diego’s Park & Recreation staff and our many partners and funders who will enable us to make our beloved Balboa Park much shadier in the years to come.”
“A healthy urban forest is essential to enhancing the well-being of our neighborhoods and reducing carbon emissions, a key component of the City of San Diego’s Climate Action Plan,” said District 3 San Diego Councilmember Chris Ward. “Balboa Park is not only the crown jewel in the city’s cultural life, it’s a vital green space that the city is committed to supporting and developing for the benefit of all current and future residents and visitors.”
The Balboa Park Conservancy worked closely with the city to plan which trees to plant and where, with the Conservancy’s new Director of Planning, Design, and Programs, Jacqueline Higgins, lending her expertise to the project.
“We worked with Mario Llanos, horticulturist for City of San Diego Park & Recreation, to make sure the Conservancy’s support aligns with the Balboa Park Forest Plan of diversifying the urban forest with regard to species and age,” said Higgins. “These tree species were chosen to complement each other, one providing seasonal interest and the other providing evergreen shade.”
Another important initiative in the Conservancy’s efforts to rejuvenate and regenerate the park’s tree canopy is conducting a comprehensive tree inventory of the park, currently underway. “The Balboa Park tree inventory will help guide decisions on the part of the Conservancy, the city, and other park stakeholders in how to best manage this important forest asset for the region,” explained Higgins.
Established in 1986, the Civic Beautification (Jacaranda) project of The Village Garden Club of La Jolla is responsible for the donations and planting of thousands of jacaranda trees, and more are donated every year. In October 2000, through the efforts and encouragement of The Village Garden Club of La Jolla, the San Diego City Council named the jacaranda as the “Official Tree of San Diego.”
Tree San Diego’s mission is to significantly impact the quantity of quality urban forest in San Diego County. Quantity means increasing the percentage of urban forest. Quality means the right trees, in the right places, properly maintained
The Balboa Park Conservancy enriches the visitor experience and keeps Balboa Park magnificent by sustaining and enhancing the Park’s beauty, and its historic, cultural, and recreational character for the enduring enjoyment of all. Working in partnership with the City of San Diego and surrounding communities, the Conservancy is committed to ensuring that the Park’s spectacular landscaping, grounds, and structures continue to make Balboa Park one of the best urban cultural parks in the country. For more information, visit http://balboaparkconservancy.org.