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March 6, 2012
Valley oak starts 30,000-tree pledge drive for Sacramento area

This month-long party starts with a single tree in Sacramento, but will lead to an expanded urban forest - by as many as 30,000 trees.

At 12:30 p.m. Wednesday at Capitol Park, the Sacramento Tree Foundation will plant a valley oak to kick off its 30th anniversary celebration.

Wednesday - California's annual Arbor Day - also kicks off the foundation's drive to get pledges to plant 30,000 new trees across Sacramento's six-county region.

The valley oak - a symbol of the Sacramento Valley - was the perfect choice for a milestone tree, noted Ray Tretheway, the foundation's executive director.

"It's a native tree to our area, drought tolerant, strong and sturdy," he said of the oak. "It's also a very long-lived tree, which is appropriate."

The anniversary tree will be part of the Capitol's oak grove, located in the park's southeast corner. The planting ceremony will be just off 15th Street near the World Peace Rose Garden.

It will be the first of thousands of new trees to commemorate the foundation's 30th anniversary. In partnership with Greenwise Joint Venture, the foundation will gather tree-planting pledges through April 8 at www.30ktrees.com.

The foundation has a head start on its pledge drive, Tretheway said. The Sacramento Municipal Utility District offered 5,000 trees to local parks and schools. The City of Sacramento plans to plant 1,000 trees; the City of Folsom will plant 1,500.

"Those will all be in public places - parks, schools and streets," he said. "We've also had 1,000 pledged by neighborhood associations so far. The Lions Club plans to plant a tree for every member in the area - as many as 1,800. All these things add up; they're really neat."

Tretheway hopes that half of the 30,000 will come from private pledges as more individuals get involved.

To entice that effort, Green Acres Nursery - which has locations in Sacramento, Roseville and Folsom - is offering a free tree-planting kit with every 15-gallon shade tree sold. In addition, Green Acres will donate 10 trees to the campaign for every 100 sold.

To learn more, click on www.sactree.org or call (916) 924-8733.

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