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Davis to get greener, as 1,000 new trees to take root thanks to Cal Fire grant

See amazing acacias in bloom at UC Davis

Ellen Zagory, director of public horticulture at the UC Davis Arboretum, shares why the arboretum's Conn Acacia Grove is special, particularly in times of drought.
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Ellen Zagory, director of public horticulture at the UC Davis Arboretum, shares why the arboretum's Conn Acacia Grove is special, particularly in times of drought.

Davis residents may soon see 1,000 new trees taking root throughout their community, thanks to a half-million-dollar grant from Cal Fire.

“We’re targeting bike paths, parks, and disadvantaged communities,” said Rob Cain, the city’s urban forest manager. “The bulk of the trees will go in and around those communities.”

As of 2018, Davis boasted 40,000 trees, according to Cain.

The grant will help the city reduce its carbon footprint, city sustainability manager Mitch Sears said. Davis adopted a climate action plan in 2010, which outlined specific goals to reduce carbon emissions.

“The City staff is thrilled to receive this grant to renew our aging tree canopy and to provide Davis with numerous environmental benefits,” City Manager Mike Webb said in the news release.

The city will partner with TreeDavis, a nonprofit dedicated to expanding the city’s urban forest, according to Sears. The organization has mobilized 3,000 volunteers to plant 9,000 trees in Davis in the last 26 years, according to the news release. From fall 2019 through fall 2021, TreeDavis will plant trees in 650 residential locations and 350 public locations, and continuously monitor the impact of each of the trees, the release said.

In winter 2021, the city will author a new 40 year Urban Forestry Management Plan, which will outline goals for the city to achieve 40 percent tree canopy cover and maintain the health of its prized community forest, according to Cain.

Mayor Brett Lee said in the news release that one of the City Council’s main priorities is sustainability.

“One of our many council goals is to pursue environmental sustainability,” Lee said. “Planting 1,000 trees in town will help us sustain shade coverage and reduce greenhouse gases.”

Trees, the news release said, will not only filter air pollution, but also provide ample shade to reduce surface temperatures, filter storm water, and provide energy savings by shading homes, streets, and businesses. According to the U.S. Forest Service, one tree adds about $7,000 on average to a home sale.

Cain said trees may also help the community in subtler ways.

“There’s a number of health benefits that are being studied as far as kids in schools that have green spaces who do better in school,” he said. “There’s healthier and safer communities by getting them out into an open space and having shaded bike paths to use.”

Cal Fire awarded the Urban & Community Forestry Proposition 68 Grant to Davis through state funding allotted by Proposition 68, or the Parks and Water Bond Act of 2018, which protects the state’s water and land supply, according to Cal Fire grant guidelines. The Urban Forestry program offers these grants to develop sustainable urban and community forests in California.

Candice Wang, from Yale, is a local news reporter for The Sacramento Bee interested in climate change, sustainability, socioeconomic inequality, and culture. She grew up in Connecticut.
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