[KHTS] – The City of Santa Clarita hosted its 25th annual Earth Arbor Day celebration Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Central Park in Saugus.
Santa Clarita Mayor Laurene Weste and Urban Forestry Supervisor Robert Sartain spoke at the opening ceremony before teaming up with Santa Clarita City Council member Marsha McLean and several Urban Forestry staff to plant the first tree of the day behind the main stage.
Weste spoke about Santa Clarita commitment to environmental responsibility and said that the free Earth Arbor Day event is a way to celebrate this ideal.
“Santa Clarita really loves its trees,” Weste said. “We trimmed more than 20,000 trees last year and we are very proud of that number. We want to give you as many opportunities as we can to enrich your life and enrich our planet and our community.”
Twenty-four trees were planted at Central Park throughout the day by Urban Forestry staff and volunteers.
Sartain said the Earth Arbor Day event fulfills a requirement that allows Santa Clarita to apply for the Tree City USA award, which it has received for the past 24 years.
“To qualify as a Tree City USA community, we have to meet four standards from the Arbor Day Foundation and the National Association of State Foresters,” Sartain said. “We must have a tree board or department … also we must have a tree care ordinance. We have to show we are taking care of the trees financially .. and lastly, an Arbor Day observance and proclamation, which the council proclaims each year.”
1000 free trees were provided at the event on a first come, first serve basis. The trees were donated by the City of Santa Clarita and Four Seasons.
Free mulch and compost were also provided for attendees, donated by C & M Topsoil and Whole Foods, respectively.
65 vendors were on hand to share information about their environmentally friendly products and general services. Vendors included, Snow Orthodontics, Dr. Thomas Polucki, Green Convergence, Whole Foods and more.
Urban Forestry for the City of Santa Clarita was also on hand at the event to share information about tree pruning and other proper tree care techniques.
Wayne Smith, Urban Forestry Tree Specialist for the City of Santa Clarita, said having trees in a community can give many benefits to the area.
“Trees are homes for wildlife, provide shade and add property value,” Smith said. “In addition to aesthetic beauty, tree lined streets can add safety to the community and, at the most basic level, reduce carbon dioxide levels and increase oxygen through carbon sequestration. We want people to know how to take care of their trees and today is a day of nothing but education for people who want to learn to protect trees. ”
The event was free to the public and sponsored by the Santa Clarita Family of Water Suppliers, which includes Castaic Lake Water Agency, Newhall County Water District, Santa Clarita Water Division, Los Angeles County Waterworks District 36 and Valencia Water Company.