Despite chilly temperatures and rain that let up just hours before the event, dozens of volunteers turned out to help Benicia Tree Foundation and local Boy Scouts in transforming the Benicia Armory grounds on Saturday, December 7th, 2013. Working alongside the soldiers of the 749th CSSB, volunteers helped to plant trees and native plants. With nearly 100 people working, the project was completed mid-afternoon.
“This project represents a collaboration between Benicia Tree Foundation, the California Army National Guard and the Boy Scouts of America. Together we planted 34 trees and nearly 100 native plants, giving the Armory grounds a makeover and contributing to the sustainability of Benicia and support of the city’s Climate Action Plan through carbon sequestration” says Tina Marchetti, Executive Director of the Benicia Tree Foundation (BTF). “The completion of this project brings BTF to over 300 trees planted so far.”
The project included the installation of four separate native plant gardens, managed by Benicia Boy Scouts Gian Rivasplata, Harrison Meyer, Matthew Peters and Elias Martin; as well as the installation of a grove of trees coordinated by Benicia Tree Foundation. Coast Redwoods, Coast Live Oak, California Incense Cedar, Chinese Pistache, and Deodar Cedar were planted.
A broad spectrum of volunteers participated – a troop of five-year-old Daisy Girl Scouts, retired seniors, Benicia Fire Department Staff, high school students, Boy Scouts, armory neighbors, teachers, veterans, parents, children, soldiers and a congressional staff member all helped with the project.
The group enjoyed bright, sunny skies all day and the rains from Friday night helped soften the earth to make digging easier. All were treated to a barbecue hosted by the local VFW and American Legion, and a ceremony to honor the projects’ leaders was held mid-day. The ceremony included a moment of silence in remembrance of Pearl Harbor Day.
“I envisioned an event that could bring the citizens of this great city together for a mutually beneficial experience. I am pleased by the overwhelming support and generous contributions, all of which greatly enhanced the success of this historic event” says Lieutenant Colonel Donna McDermott, Battalion Commander.
Support for the project was received Benicia’s Organic Solutions, who donated all of the mulch for the gardens and trees, and American Canyon’s Mid-City Nursery who extended a generous discount for the plant material.
Tree Care Days have been scheduled subsequent to the planting to check on the growth and perform routine maintenance tasks, e.g. weeding, mulching and pruning.