Benicia sets goal of planting 1,000 trees by end of 2012

June 13, 2011

By Tony Burchyns, Times-Herald

BENICIA -- An effort is taking root to plant 1,000 trees by the end of next year.

"Never has such an attempt been made to so substantially increase the forest canopy in Benicia," said Wolfram Alderson, executive director of the nonprofit Benicia Tree Foundation.

The initiative is being led by local residents calling themselves the "Tree-Keepers." They're working with the foundation to focus on tree planting, maintenance and education.

"This is an opportunity to demonstrate our interest in making Benicia a better place," said Benician Pam Blakey who, with her husband Doug Hart, joined the fledgling Tree-Keepers group last month.

The couple planted nine copper leaf plants on their property along Military West near Drolette Way.

They said Mayor Elizabeth Patterson stopped by on her bicycle to acknowledge their efforts.

"Pam and Doug are among a growing cadre of residents in Benicia that want to make a positive difference in the community," Patterson said later.

Consulting arborist Ed Brennan, who's volunteering with the program, said if every family in the United States planted one tree, "It would reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by one billion pounds annually. This is almost 5 percent of the amount that human activity annually contributes to the atmosphere," Brennan added.

Residents become Tree-Keepers by making a $50 donation and committing to planting and taking care of a tree in their yard or the community, Alderson said.

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