City Celebrates Arbor Day by Cleaning and Greening with Volunteers

March 12, 2011
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Signature Tree Planting Honors Extraordinaire that has planted more than 7,000 citywide

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Mayor Edwin Lee, Supervisor Eric Mar, the Department of Public Works (DPW) and the city family celebrated Arbor Day with volunteers and families cleaning and greening the community.  Community Clean Team, a citywide volunteer program, hosted the event at George Washington High School where more than 300 volunteers planted trees, worked on landscaping and gardening projects, painted over graffiti, and removed litter in neighborhoods throughout District One. The celebration also included a signature tree planting and dedication to long time volunteer and tree-planter extraordinaire, Charlie Starbuck.

"Trees are more than just beautiful, they are a critical part of our city's effort to provide its residents with a green and livable city," said Mayor Edwin M. Lee. A healthy and vibrant urban forest is a gift we can give to the future generations of our City. I am proud to support San Francisco's Arbor Day, which focuses on not just planting trees, but maintaining them.”
This is the sixth ceremonial tree planting that DPW and the City have sponsored. Each year, signature trees are dedicated to community leaders and advocates. Past honorees include Rosa Parks, Cesar Chavez, Ruth Asawa, Dr. Ellen Wolf, and Dana Woldow.
“I look forward to this Community Clean Team event every year. I'd like to thank the hardworking DPW staff and the many volunteers who help make this event successful.  This year's honoree Charlie Starbuck has been a tremendous individual who has worked hard to beautify our city, “added District One Board of Supervisor Eric Mar.

This year, Charlie Starbuck will join the list of honorees for single-handedly planting over 7,000 trees almost every weekend over the past 30 years in San Francisco. The signature tree for dedication is a Quercus suber, Cork Oak, a tree where cork comes from. It is known for its beauty and evergreen and can live to be several hundred years old.  The tree was planted along the median on 31th and 32nd Avenue and Geary, in front of the George Washington High School.

“Arbor Day celebrates not only the importance of trees, but also the importance of neighbors working together and in conjunction with DPW to act as stewards of our urban forest in an effort to make our streets and communities more livable,” said Ed Reiskin, Director of the Department of Public Works.

A highlight of the event was the Eco-fair, featuring activities such as planter box building, bucket rides, information on recycling and composting, a petting area for ‘landscaping’ goats, and a full schedule of fun family activities.

“Arbor Day is a wonderful opportunity to get everyone together in the spirit of greening our City,” said Mohammed Nuru, Deputy Director of Operations. “It reminds us that volunteering can be a fun and rewarding experience that teaches us to be stewards of our community.”

DPW is responsible for the care and maintenance of San Francisco’s streets and much of its infrastructure. The department cleans and resurfaces streets; plants and maintains City street trees; designs, constructs and maintains city-owned facilities; inspects streets and sidewalks; constructs curb ramps; removes graffiti from public property; and partners with the diverse neighborhoods in San Francisco to provide stellar cleaning and greening services.