… there’s a name for when you step out of your car onto a sunny asphalt parking lot somewhere in a city and feel as if you’ve stepped into an oven? It’s called the “heat island effect.” Spread over an entire city, which can be several degrees hotter than the surrounding countryside, this phenomenon is called an “urban heat island.”
An urban heat island is a place where dark surfaces absorb the sun’s heat and radiate it out into the surrounding air. It can refer to an area within a city or the entire city. These solar-heated surfaces can be horizontal, such as tarred or asphalt-shingle rooftops and asphalt roads, parking lots, and playgrounds, or vertical, such as the walls of high buildings and other structures. All together these surfaces trap, hold, and radiate heat, not allowing sufficient natural cooling at night.
Although urban heat islands’ contribution to the warming of the atmosphere is relatively small compared to carbon emissions, that contribution is increased by the energy expended to cool indoor urban spaces. Heat islands also create adverse health conditions for residents who don’t have AC and outdoor workers, as documented by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) and OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration).
While much of our region suffers heat island effects, the worst affected are areas unrelieved by the shade of urban trees and areas farther away from the cooling effects of the ocean. The work of TreeSD and our partners, planting and maintaining shade-producing trees, will have the beneficial effect of mitigating this significant problem.
Tree San Diego featured on
KPBS’s A Growing Passion
“Trees need advocates!” is a recurring theme of “Urban Forests: Trees and Plants in the City,” the episode of A Growing Passion including the work of TreeSD. Host Nan Sterman gives several examples of tree advocates, starting with the “citizen foresters” of TreePeople, an LA-based non-profit whose purpose is to inspire residents to imagine their city as a place for trees.
“Urban forests bring nature into the city.”
Nan Sterman, host of KPBS's A Growing Passion
Nan told another tale of tree advocacy closer to home. In Ocean Beach, some beautiful big old trees were being removed by the city because of a perceived public risk. This inspired OB residents to come together and learn how to advocate for trees.
As her last example, Nan featured tree planting and care of new trees by TreeSD and our school-age partners. She told how Trees Amigos arose out of a high school community service requirement. These teens – trained and supervised by TreeSD arborists and volunteers – have been regular weekend volunteers watering newly planted trees in Chula Vista. In an aside to the TV audience, TreeSD volunteer coordinator Bruce Engelbert made a public appeal for more volunteers to help sustain this tree-care effort.
From this program we also learned some astonishing facts:
Today two-thirds of the greater LA surface area is sealed by concrete or asphalt, which prevents water run-off absorption by trees.
From 1985 to 2002, San Diego’s tree canopy has shrunk by 20% with disadvantaged communities particularly affected.
Nan measured a stunning 30+-degree temperature difference between street asphalt and a nearby tree-shaded sidewalk.
Nan left her San Diego TV audience with this message: “We need to maintain and advocate for our trees, so together we can thrive.” TreeSD appreciates the support of Nan Sterman and KPBS for all efforts to promote trees and tree health.
This episode, “Urban Forests: Trees and Plants in the City,” will air again on Thursday July 13, 8:30 pm and Saturday July 15, 3:30 pm, and is accessible here online.
Kick-off of Balboa Park
Conservancy’s Tree Inventory
On June 5th, TreeSD representatives participated in Balboa Park Conservancy’s kick-off event for the project they’re conducting, with the assistance of Davey Resource Group, to inventory the park’s approximately 16,000 trees, truly an urban forest treasure. We are providing technical assistance to the project, especially pertaining to the environmental benefits of these trees, and will eventually include the data in our Tree Tracker. Stay tuned for findings….
Pictured from left to right, Tim Lacey and Laurie Broedling (TreeSD), Jackie Higgins (Balboa Park Conservancy), Emily Spillett (Davey Resource Group), Tomas Herrera-Mishler (Balboa Park Conservancy), and Herman Parker (Director, San Diego Department of Parks and Recreation)
TreeSD has been fortunate to recently receive two grants, one from CAL FIRE’s Urban and Community Forestry California Climate Investment Grants program and one from the Hunter Family Funds at the Rancho Santa Fe Foundation. The former project will focus on ways to improve the utilization rate of urban tree material (woody biomass) once our local trees reach the end of their lifespan. The latter enables us to continue developing the San Diego Regional Tree Steward Program. More will be shared on these exciting projects in our next issue.
In addition we are a partner on a grant received by the Balboa Park Conservancy from CAL FIRE’s Urban and Community Forestry California Climate Investment Grants program. These funds augment city resources in combating climate change by adding 500 trees to replenish Balboa Park’s tree canopy. TreeSD will assist in creating a Tree Steward Corps for the park, volunteers who will not only care for newly planted trees but also mature ones.
AWARDS City of Chula Vista Recognizes
On June 20, 2017 the Chula Vista City Council issued a proclamation recognizing the work of two groups of youths in helping to water street trees that TreeSD -- in cooperation with CAL FIRE, Urban Corps and the City of Chula Vista -- planted in neighborhoods of Chula Vista. For the past year, the Trees Amigos, led by Mina de la Torre of Girl Scout Troop 5912, and Kids 4 Our World, led by Miguel Aldrete, have regularly participated in weekend tree waterings.
In addition TreeSD awarded each of these youth with a Tree Steward Certificate in Basic Tree Watering Skills.
From left to right, Trees Amigos Jake Curtis, David Hernandez, Ania de la Torre, and Mina de la Torre; Center, Council Member Patricia Aguilar; followed by Kids 4 Our World’s Miguel Aldrete, Manuel Aguilera-Prieto, Patricio Argiles, Mateo Gonzalez and Christopher Santana.
(Not at the ceremony were Maria Marquez from Kids 4 Our World and Gaby Perez, Eric Rincon and Ylianna Castro from Trees Amigos.)
We are recruiting for several paid, part-time truck drivers and volunteer coordinators to help with tree care on weekends in Northwest Chula Vista and Logan Heights. Please help us spread the word of this opportunity. The position information and application requirements can be found at: http://www.treesandiego.org/job-opportunities
You can do something positive about San Diego’s tree canopy, mitigating climate change, as well as helping make our air healthier and our region more beautiful. Join TREE SAN DIEGO today. Help us make that difference. By becoming a member, you as a private citizen will be actively helping us increase the number of trees we can plant and maintain as well as expand our choices for locations, reducing the way-too-big gaps in our urban forest.
Click on the Member Badge to join our team!
VOLUNTEER WITH TSD
Tree San Diego is looking to expand our dedicated team of volunteers for the rest 2017 and into 2018. While we can use volunteers in many capacities, starting in July we need scores of volunteers each weekend to help water and weed around new street trees in northwest Chula Vista and Logan Heights. If you are passionate about Urban Forestry, Sustainability, and/or being further involved in your local community, please contact Kalli Legakes at firstname.lastname@example.org to further discuss ways you can join the Tree San Diego team!
INTERN WITH TSD
If you are, or know of someone actively seeking an internship to increase professional experience and/or fulfill course requirements, please contact Kalli Legakes at email@example.com with a self-introduction and resume.
Funding for San Diego Tree Advantage Program
has been provided by the California Greenhouse
Gas Reduction Fund through the California
Department of Forestry and Fire Protection
(CAL FIRE) Urban and Community Forestry Program.