2015 Tree Heroes
C.K. McClatchy Award
Volunteer, Save Auburn Ravine Salmon and Steelhead (SARSAS)
Robert Hane is a volunteer with Save Auburn Ravine Salmon and Steelhead (SARSAS) where he is the Coordinator for the Restoration of the North Ravine, the major tributary of the Auburn Ravine.With funding and guidance from the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and assistance from the California Conservation Corps and the Sierra Native Alliance, Robert is restoring the riparian forest of the North Ravine for salmon habitat and spawning. Robert is leading the effort to clear the ravine of invasive plants and, most importantly, to plant 500 new trees on the ravine.The 500 new trees will create wildlife habitat and shade that will lower water temperatures to the mid-50 degrees Fahrenheit over the three-mile length of the North Ravine, which will provide ideal conditions for salmon and steelhead spawning and rearing. Like all SARSAS members, Robert Hane is a volunteer, doing this workout of love and passion for restoring the ravine, its forest and its fishes.
Austin B. Carroll Award
Folks4Oaks is a group of volunteers dedicated to reforesting rural Elk Grove and increasing tree canopy benefits such as wildlife habitat and carbon sequestration. This effort is focused on replacing native trees and is sponsored by the Sheldon Community Association and the Greater Sheldon Road Estates Homeowners Association. Over the last six years, Folks4Oaks has planted 1,200 new valley oak trees in the rural area of Elk Grove - four times the number of oak trees in Elk Grove Regional Park! This group also played an active role in developing the Tree Ordinance for the City of Elk Grove. Through its efforts, Folks4Oaks is rebuilding important California oak habitat and sharing the benefits of a robust urban forest with the entire community.
Growing Greenprint Award
Sacramento County has successfully advanced comprehensive policies, ordinances and design guidelines to inrease and preserve the trees and canopy throughout the County. Sacramento county recognizes the key roletrees play in improvinng the quality of life and health of its neighobrhoods and citizens, and hopes to inspire othercities and counties in the region to replicate its actions.
The county’s new General Plan includes key provisions dedicated to the urban forest:When oaks are removed they must be replaced with the same tree species equaling in sum the diameter of the tree lost. Removal of non-native tree canopy for development now must result in no net loss of tree canopy. The county has goals to double the County’s tree canopy by 2050, and is a strong supporter of the Tree Foundation’s Greenprint Initiative.
The county has adopted a policy to promote Cool Community strategies to cool the urban heat island, reduce energy use and ozone formation, and maximize air quality benefits by encouraging four main strategies, one of which is to increase tree canopy.
More recently, the County has linked the benefits of trees to public health and climate resilience. Their newly adopted Design Guidelines call for “Active Design” elements for sustainable and healthy communities, which include increasing existing tree canopy by planting new trees.
AMERICAN AND ENGLISH ELMS OF SACRAMENTO
The defining trees of Sacramento are the American and English elms. Their numbers continue to decline due to age, risk assessments and dutch elm disease. The city's urban forest services tracks elm removals at 40 to 60 per year.Urban Forest Services manages a very pro-active program to promote the health and longevity of this shrinking population. It is estimated as few as 2,000 of these elms remain today – many of them between 80 and 110 years old.
Recognized as the signature trees of midtown and our historic park neighborhoods, the elms link Sacramento's past to its future.The elms are a living testament to the value of a rich and robust tree canopy, and are a key asset to the city's quality of life, attractiveness, environmental quality and economic prosperity.
Bestowing the Legacy Award on these elms will remind us that past generations planted, cared for, protected and valued extensive tree canopy. The legacy of these elms inspires us to plant and protect tomorrow's urban forest.
Valley Oak Award
E. GREGORY MCPHERSON
USDA Forest Service
Greg’s passion and dedication toward creating sustainable urban forests throughout the Sacramento region, the state and the nation has been unrelenting since 1993, the year he began planning the Sacramento Urban Forest Ecosystem Study. This detailed analysis of the development, structure, and sustainability of our urban forest resulted in a two-volume special issue of the Journal of Arboriculture describing research findings.
Research itself should never the end goal, and it isn’t for Greg. Communication is. Whether working to test new climate-change adapting tree species in our region, assisting the development of standardized urban tree monitoring protocols, or providing the research that resulted in SMUD’s Sacramento Shade Tree Program, Greg’s focus is always on making new information available, understandable, and useful to citizens and scientists alike.
This has resulted in tools people can and do use including: iTree Streets, ecoSmart Landscapes, the Tree Carbon Calculator, Trees in Our City presentations, Trees Pay Us Back brochures, and the “price tags” we see on trees at various green events.Greg also provided the tree growth and economics data for the Sacramento Tree Foundation’s Greenprint Maps, Urban Forest Map, and the National Tree Benefit Calculator and produced the Community Tree Guide series covering all macro climate zones across the nation. All of these educational tools and materials are based on scientific research, but are also easy to read and understandable so that non-profits, governments, and citizens can use them to green and improve our communities.
And probably the best part is that Greg continues to live and work here within our own Sacramento region and is always accessible for information, thoughtful advice, and new ideas toward creating a sustainable urban forest.