How did Sacramento become the ‘City of Trees’? Upcoming documentary tells the story

Even though our water tower no longer boasts about it, Sacramento is still the "City of Trees."

In fact, a 2017 study by the MIT Senseable City Lab looked at the tree-friendliness of 15 cities, as part of its aptly named "Treepedia" project, and confirmed that our "green canopy" is among the world's best, and is perhaps the biggest in the nation.

Have you ever wondered how that came to be?

An upcoming documentary looks to answer that question. "Made in the Shade," by director and Sacramento native Phil D'Asaro, examines the city's path to becoming a tree behemoth.

As seen in its trailer, "Made in the Shade" will dive into the Sacramento Municipal Utility District and Sacramento Tree Foundation's joint "Sacramento Shade" initiative, and how it helped build the city's green canopy by offering free trees to SMUD customers.

The documentary will debut April 25 at the Crest Theatre, in a free screening. SMUD is one of the hosts and a sponsor of the screening.

SMUD estimated in 2015 that shade from trees could cut cooling costs by 40 percent after five years of growth, The Bee reported at the time. Or, as it's playfully phrased in the documentary's trailer: "I think that I will never see an air conditioner as lovely as a tree."

“I think the tree canopy in Sacramento is probably the most important thing in Sacramento—period,” D'Asaro said, according to Sactown Magazine.

The trailer also touches on the closing of the Rancho Seco nuclear power plant in 1989, the impact that had on the area's energy supply and how energy concerns resulted in citywide efforts to plant lots and lots of trees.

The free screening will begin at 6 p.m. April 25. Guests may RSVP online.