There was a huge turnout of more than 60 volunteers to help plant 35 trees on Saturday along the Tule River Parkway East and West of Jaye Street.
Donnie Moore, director of Parks and Leisure Services was overwhelmed by the turnout.
“We hope to have another opportunity in a couple years to submit for the grant again,” he said. “Next time we will request more trees as it was a pleasure working with the Invest from the Ground Up staff, and the community support was fantastic.”
The tree planting was made possible by a grant from Invest from the Ground Up Community Tree Planting, sponsored by Cal Fire and U.S. Forest Service Urban and U.S. Community Forestry Program. IFGU stated many of the state’s communities have a significant lack of tree canopy cover, so the tree planting helps make a healthier environment. Nineteen other communities received grants for tree planting — 125 trees were planted on the Tule River Reservation and 90 trees planted at the Lindsay Memorial Building.
Besides planting the trees, volunteers helped prune trees, clean up weeds and debris around the tree trunks and picked up trash along the river walkway.
Members of the Porterville Breakfast Lions Club, students from Granite Hills High School Excel Club, Monache High School CSF, the Porterville Youth Commission, Porterville High School Interact Club, and Harmony Magnet Academy Key Club, plus others from the community, volunteered.
Tom Burns, president of the Breakfast Lions, Joe Heard, Norm Carpenter, Bill Fusco, and Larry Lindgren helped plant trees at the west end of the parkway, while Grant and Diane Wagner helped their students plant on the East parkway.
“I think it’s important for kids to be giving back to the community, and because it’s an environmental issue, it’s especially significant,” Wagner said. “The trees are a carbon sequester,” meaning they hold carbon dioxide in their tissues.
“I was really excited the way the tree planting event turned out,” Monache High School student Fareen Baloch, a member of the California Scholarship Federation, said.
Baloch’s sister, Noreen, a premed student at UC Davis, helped with the tree planting, along with their father Anwer Baloch, a cancer physician, who said he enjoyed the community event.
“These guys and gals are simply amazing,” said Rose Epperson of the Western Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture and California Releaf president, said. “They did great.”
As she worked cleaning up weeds, trimming back around trees and surveying planted trees, Cathy Capone of the Alta Peak Chapter California Native Plant Society said, “It’s good that we keep replanting the trees. The majority of the tree damage is vandalism, not lack of water. There have been fires here, and that doesn’t help.”
Jeff Chaney and Casey Neria, both of Porterville Parks Department have been preparing the irrigation for the trees, and generally maintaining the river parkway area.
Capone commented the sycamores planted should thrive, because they do well near water and are perfect for the location. The other four types of oaks planted should do well if maintained.
All five types of trees planted need deep supplemental water until they are established in five years.