WATSONVILLE — In celebration of California Arbor Week, two new tree planting efforts are underway in Watsonville this week as part of the Watsonville Urban Forest Revitalization Project.
Initiated by Watsonville Wetlands Watch and the City of Watsonville, 59 trees are being planted on Main Street and Ohlone Parkway.
On Saturday about 40 volunteers gathered for a planting — an event sponsored by the Freedom and Watsonville Rotary Clubs. Pajaro Valley High School students and other volunteers joined the effort in planting 10 coast live oak trees.
Tuesday morning, the California Conservation Corps took over planting in front of the soccer field at Ramsay Park.
California Arbor Week is a state-wide initiative aiming to increase green spaces in communities. Since the City’s of Watsonville’s Urban Greening Plan was adopted in 2012, the city had only 7.8 percent tree canopy cover, with a goal to increase to 40 percent by 2030.
The project is designed to sequester atmospheric carbon as well as address climate change. It is funded by the California Conservation Investments and the Greenhouse Gas Offset Program by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, in a grant to the Watsonville Wetlands Watch and City of Watsonville.
“In addition to benefits associated with addressing climate change, these projects are especially important as they improve air and water quality, provide new habitat for birds and other wildlife near wetlands, and improve streets and bikeways for walking and bicycling,” said Jonathan Pilch, executive director of Watsonville Wetlands Watch. “They are also a fantastic opportunity to bring the community together to make long-lasting and positive improvements for our community as we’ve seen throughout these Arbor Week events.”
At the completion of this week’s activities, the planting of 59 new trees will bring the total planted to 191 new trees, including 19 different tree species, planted on seven parks and five street corridors.