A key component of the City of San Diego’s Climate Action Plan is to restore our dangerously deficient urban forest canopy by planting thousands of greenhouse gas-reducing, water-wise trees. Working closely with the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, the Balboa Park Conservancy has made replenishing the park forest a major priority. A $378,000 state grant from CAL FIRE provided essential funds to launch our Tree Balboa Park program two years ago. However, to achieve our goals of establishing a sustainable park forest, additional assistance is needed.
Thanks to the generous support of our many corporate and community partners, we continue to make significant progress in bringing dozens of drought-tolerant, shade-producing trees to locations across Balboa Park’s 1,200-acre campus. Two recent tree-planting events involving two of San Diego’s preeminent corporations, SDG&E and CUBIC, put on full display the many advantages of collaboration in enhancing San Diego’s most treasured cultural, recreational, and environmental resource.
SDG&E Volunteers Plant 26 Trees at Marston Point
We are extremely grateful to the more than 70 SDG&E staff members who showed up on a cool and damp Saturday morning in February to plant 26 new trees at Marston Point at the southern end of the park’s West Mesa. Not only did SDG&E employees volunteer their time, but SDG&E donated $20,000 toward our reforestation initiatives as part of their “Broken Bats for Brand New Trees” program with the San Diego Padres.
“Balboa Park is the crown jewel of San Diego and has a very special place in our heart,” said Mitch Mitchell, vice president of state governmental affairs and external affairs at San Diego Gas & Electric. “Our hope is that the new trees our employees helped to plant will benefit park visitors for years to come by providing shade and absorbing pollution. It was a great experience teaming up with the Balboa Park Conservancy on this project.”
The tree-planting event would not have been possible without several other key collaborators: Tree San Diego arborists who provided stellar instructions; the Conservancy’s newly minted and certified Balboa Park Tree Stewards, who assisted the tree-planting teams; Urban Corps of San Diego County, who provided muscle, materials, and expertise; and horticulturalist Magen Shaw and Ranger Kyle with the city’s Parks and Recreation department.
Additional support in transporting supplies and personnel out to Marston Point came courtesy of the Conservancy’s brand-new utility vehicle, funded by the Copley Foundation.
The eventful and productive morning even attracted great news coverage, including a four-minute piece on KUSI News.
CUBIC Tree-Planting Event Brings Relief to Our Canine Visitors
A similar recent event provided more proof that partnering with the local corporate community is a win-win proposition toward achieving our urban reforestation goals. Last month, CUBIC Corporation made planting 10 new trees in the park a team-building activity for 14 of its global leaders. Their day included a team meeting onsite and lunch in the Conservancy offices.
The immediate beneficiaries of their team-building project were the hundreds of dogs and their human companions who visit the Grape Street Dog Park every week who can now look forward to the many amenities the new oak, pine, and olive trees will offer in the decades to come. On their behalf, we thank CUBIC for their staff’s enthusiastic efforts in beautifying a popular recreational area, which was supported by a $5,000 grant from CUBIC.
These corporate partners are essential to ensuring a sustainable future for the region’s largest and most beloved urban park.