Tree cheers, and thank you
A message from Ray Tretheway
September 17, 2020
With my retirement just a few months away, I am anticipating an exciting return to a youthful summer lifestyle: freedom in choices, timeless hours, endless days, exploration, learning, eyes wide open to possibilities. I will soon have the time to learn from my favorite environmental philosopher, Aldo Leopold, who shared:
“I confess my own leisure to be entirely in search of adventure, without regard to prudence, profit, self improvement, learning or any other serious things.”
I owe much to my career – and to many of you. A career infused with remarkable people, events, and organizations that gave me opportunities, allowed for risks, provided the guidance, and shared the vision. I am proud of what we accomplished together.
In 38 years, the Sacramento Tree Foundation has spread it roots deep and wide. Our services have grown like a spreading canopy, expanding from three part-time staff in the first eight years to 25+ staff over the past two decades. We were thrilled to plant one tree a day in the first year, so imagine our excitement when we planted 1,000 trees a year through the rest of the 1980s. Today, our phenomenal 30-year Sacramento Shade partnership with SMUD plants 10,000 shade trees every year.
During this same period, our programs and services have grown tremendously to address the full lifecycle of the urban forest throughout the greater Sacramento region. We expanded our service area from Sacramento County to what we call the Greenprint region that includes 6 counties and 22 cities. Our Greenprint Initiative is a roadmap for cities and counties to capitalize on the remarkable benefits of trees, and the new Greenprint Neighborhood Certification is a set of standards for designers and builders to participate in building green and vibrant neighborhoods. Our NeighborWoods and Sacramento Shade programs extend free trees, expertise, and resources to everyone ready to green their yards, parks, schools and streets, with a specific focus on serving under-canopied neighborhoods. Our Urban Forest Renewal programs work with the private and public sectors to reforest open spaces and natural habitats by planting native trees.
Additionally, we transitioned from simply planting and stewarding young trees to advocating for mature tree care and protection and even addressing the end of life for our urban trees. Our Urban Wood Rescue program diverts downed trees from the landfill to preserve their beauty and benefits as dimensional lumber and live edge slabs. These programs not only meet the needs of our trees through their different stages of life, but they offer ways for each person in the region to contribute to the growth and care of our urban forest.
As a result, we have witnessed a community-wide renaissance on how residents see and value trees. I am proud that the Sacramento Tree Foundation is perpetuating a legacy that is uniquely Sacramento, a legacy seeded at the very founding of this city, and a legacy worthy of passing from one generation to the next.
I am blessed to be nurtured by Sacramento’s love affair with trees. I stand on the tall shoulders of the banner tree advocates that came before. I stand amongst the greatest board, staff, volunteers and colleagues. Together, we have shared an eagerness to roll up our sleeves and be the resounding voice of our urban forest.
For nearly three years, the Sacramento Tree Foundation board, staff and key partners have been planning my retirement with me. They are prepared in every way to take the Tree Foundation to new heights, deeper roots, and farther reach.
I am committed to continuing to support the Sacramento Tree Foundation. When called upon, I will assist with the successful transition of our new executive director. Certainly, I will continue to advance to completion the Hanami Line, our cherry tree park on the Sacramento riverfront.
I am indebted to and enriched by a community that continually shows up to earn our world-renowned reputation as the City of Trees.