CalFire and partners celebrate California Arbor Week with grants for tree planting and tree care educational events

California’s Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, the USDA Forest Service , and California ReLeaf welcome the support and sponsorship of Edison International and Blue Shield of California to celebrate California Arbor Week, March 7-14, 2023.

This year, $50,000 in Arbor Week community tree-planting grants were made possible with Edison’s partnership, while Blue Shield is the new sponsor of the Arbor Week Youth Art Contest. Arbor Week Grants will fund 10 projects organized by community groups and nonprofits who are actively working to make their communities greener, healthier, and stronger with urban trees. CAL FIRE and the USFS are not recipients of these grants.

California’s trees matter — especially as we face a changing climate. One way we can build climate-resilient communities is by planting trees. Every tree planted works to pull carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, clean our air and water, cool our neighborhoods, provide habitat for wildlife, connect communities, and support our health and well-being.

A press conference was held March 7, 2023, at South Prescott Park in Oakland to honor California Arbor Week and the Arbor Week grantees, as well as to unveil the 2023 Arbor Week Youth Art Contest winners. Following the press conference, a ceremonial Arbor Week tree planting was hosted by local urban forest nonprofit Common Vision with other Oakland community partners

“We believe that a tree is not just a tree, but a symbol of hope, resilience, and community.” remarked Wanda Stewart, Executive Director of Common Vision. “Our nonprofit and community partners are working tirelessly to bring more green spaces to West Oakland because we understand that a thriving urban environment depends on the health and well-being of its residents. By planting trees and promoting urban greening, we are creating a legacy of sustainability and equity for future generations to enjoy.”

Cindy Blain, Executive Director of California ReLeaf, said, “We are thrilled to work with all these great partners to celebrate California Arbor Week in Oakland. Arbor Week is an annual reminder to pause and celebrate the power of our urban trees and the communities that grow and care for them. Trees are a powerful nature-based solution to fight climate change and make a big difference in improving public health in our cities – and that is worth celebrating.”