Friends of the Urban Forest to hold 1000th planting Feb 20

Julia Butterfly Hill to speak at event in Western Addition

February 17, 2010 — One of San Francisco’s best-loved non-profit groups will achieve a big milestone this Saturday, February 20 when it leads a team of volunteers in planting trees in the Western Addition neighborhood.  The event marks the 1000th time that Friends of the Urban Forest (FUF) has planted trees in San Francisco since it was founded in 1981.

Julia Butterfly Hill will address the team of about 130 volunteers when they gather in the morning at Rosa Parks Elementary School.  The environmentalist and activist is best-known for living in an ancient Humboldt County redwood tree for two years to prevent a lumber company from cutting it,  Since emerging from the tree (which she named “Luna”) in 1999, Hill has been an author, organizer and motivational speaker.

The February 20 planting of approximately 85 trees will be among the largest FUF has done.  Rosa Parks Elementary school, which won a “green makeover” contest among San Francisco public schools last year, will receive 24 trees, most of which are native to California, such as California Buckeyes, Coast Silktassels, and Western Redbuds.  Kaiser Permanente provided funding for the event.

“Our families and community members raised close to $5000 for this planting, which is impressive in this tough economy,” said Barb Fujimoto, who heads the school’s volunteer “Green Team” and helped organize the event.  “By planting these trees with help from Friends of the Urban Forest and Kaiser, we’re realizing our dream of giving our students and our community a place of beauty and shade.”

Fujimoto’s daughter Marisa, age 10, is a fourth grader at the school.

After a brief training, volunteers will spend the morning planting trees at the school and at over two dozen other sites in the Western Addition, rain or shine.  They’ll return to the school afterwards for a potluck lunch and a ceremony that includes a Native American dance performance.

“Our thousandth planting was made possible by the vision, hard work and generous donations of thousands of San Franciscans over the past 29 years,” said FUF executive director Dan Flanagan.  “Thanks to the trees they’ve planted, San Francisco is a greener, healthier and more beautiful place.”

FUF’s work is nowhere near finished; San Francisco’s tree cover, at 12% of total land area, is less than that of other California cities such as Sacramento (14%), Los Angeles (15%), San Jose (15%) and Oakland (21%), and less than a third of the tree cover of Atlanta (37%), Austin (39%) and Portland, Oregon (42%).

SCHEDULE:

  • 8 a.m. Trees are delivered to the planting sites, including Rosa Parks Elementary School
  • 9 a.m. Tree planting volunteers arrive at Rosa Parks Elementary School
  • 9:15 a.m. Julia Butterfly Hill will speak after being introduced by FUF executive director Dan Flanagan.  Hill will be available for interviews from 9:30 a.m. to 9:50 a.m.  Location: Rosa Parks Elementary School, upper courtyard (if fair weather) or auditorium (if rain)
  • 9:30 a.m. FUF staff train tree planting volunteers.
  • 10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Volunteers plant trees at various sites in the Western Addition, including Rosa Parks Elementary School
  • 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. Potluck lunch in Rosa Parks Elementary School cafeteria
  • 1 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. Speeches followed by Native American dance performance.  Location: Rosa Parks Elementary School, upper courtyard (if fair weather) or auditorium (if rain).  Speakers include Dan Flanagan, executive director of FUF; Astrid Haryati, greening director of the City and County of San Francisco; Paul Jacobsen, principal of Rosa Parks Elementary School; and Jay Murphy, representative of event sponsor Kaiser Permanente.

PARKING:

Rosa Parks Elementary School is located at 1501 O’Farrell Street between Webster and Laguna streets.  Parking is available in the school yard; enter from Ellis Street off Webster Street.

About Friends Of The Urban Forest

Friends of the Urban Forest is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that helps individuals and neighborhood groups to plant and care for street trees and sidewalk gardens in San Francisco.  By greening the streets of San Francisco, we support the health and livability of the urban environment.  Since 1981, FUF has planted over 43,000 trees (more than all the trees in Golden Gate Park), and is responsible for over 40% of San Francisco’s tree canopy.  Thanks to the partnerships and programs developed by FUF, the capital to purchase trees comes primarily from government, corporations, and foundations, while the labor to plant and care for trees comes primarily from volunteers.

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