Across the state, the weather has been warming, the trees are flowering, and there is little chance of more rain in the forecast. It is not only time to start watering our trees, but for many of us across the state, it is also time to prepare for wildfire season. The first full week of May is Wildfire Preparedness Week, with Cal Fire hosting several events. You can also find tips on how to prepare at the ready, set, go! site.

Wildfire is, unfortunately, something we need to prepare for not just in rural areas, but also in now in urban environments. Last November, while many of us were attending the Partners in Community Forestry conference in Irvine, the city of Paradise in Northern California was devasted by the most destructive wildfire in the history of California. Our Executive Director, Nancy Hughes, joined a group organized by the Arbor Day Foundation to tour the area last week. Read more here.

Last month, our team assisted with the celebration of Arbor Day in the Fountaingrove area of Santa Rosa. This area suffered devasting losses during the wildfires of October 2017. A little over 18 months into the recovery and rebuild, homes are going up and trees planted. Last year nearly 350 trees and shrubs were also planted on Arbor Day, and this year, a further 100 trees were planted by volunteers.

Although our tree planting events for this year are mostly over, there are still many ways to volunteer with the California Urban Forests Council. In recent months we have welcomed two new members onto our board; Daniel Kump and Matt Deines. Daniel joins us from Davey Tree Experts, and Matt is a Senior Planner at UC Irvine. Both Daniel and Matt share a passion for trees, and each brings their unique industry experience and insight to our organization. Welcome aboard. If you are interested in joining the board, you can view our application here or contact Nancy Hughes.

Don’t forget Mother’s Day this Sunday. If you are looking for that last minute gift that is not only great for Mom but also Mother Earth, then donate $50. You will receive a truly unique, handcrafted, limited edition print.

Finally, save-the-date. Our 2019 Urban Forests Conference will be in San Luis Obispo from September 26 to 28. Connect with municipal arborists, urban forest managers, landscape design professionals, planners, urban wood enthusiasts, and non-profits from across California for this unique educational and networking experience. Held over two days, September 26 to 28, each full day has a distinct theme that examines current issues related to urban forestry.

April Celebrations

April was a big month for us with California Arbor Day, National Arbor Day and Earth Day celebrations across the state. Our CIRCLE3.0 project planted trees in South San Francisco (April 20), Daly City (April 27), Norwalk (April 27), and Santa Fe Springs (April 27). We were also out planting trees to assist in the restoration and recovery of the Fountaingrove area in Santa Rosa on April 26, National Arbor Day. You can view photo galleries from these events and many others here.

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South San Francisco
April 20

South San Francisco planted trees in Paradise Valley Pocket Park for National Arbor Day and Earth Day. Volunteers braved the cold and windy conditions to help plant trees. See more photos here.

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Santa Rosa
April 26

Volunteers planted trees in the Fountaingrove II area of Santa Rosa for National Arbor Day. A further 100 trees were added to the 350 trees and shrubs planted last year. See more photos here.

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Daly City
April 27

We have been so fortunate to partner with cities across California these past many months in planning and delivering on some amazing tree planting and educational goals. We had great volunteer participation with a broad mix of community members including lots of youth! The community members were excited, happy to see these transformations take place in their neighborhoods, and more importantly, having taken the lead on so much of the neighborhood organizing! We had over 80 volunteers in Daly City including a big team from Starbucks, and some of our favorite long term friends were there too like Doug Wildman from Friends of the Urban Forest, acting as a team leader.

Daly City planted trees around Gellert Park for Arbor Day on Saturday, April 27. See more photos from the event here.

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April 27

Norwalk planted trees around Holifield Park for Arbor Day on Saturday, April 27. See more photos from the event here.

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Santa Fe Springs
April 27

Lake Center Park was the location for planting trees for Arbor Day in Santa Fe Springs. See more photos here.

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From across the state

Earth Day LA

The Earth Day LA celebration held at the Sun Valley Recreation Center in Sunland on April 27th was a fun event. Hosted by City Plants, the LA Department of Recreation and Parks, Cal Fire and the Los Angeles Conservation Corps (LACC), with Assemblymember Luz Rivas and Councilwoman Nury Martinez joining in.

Lead by the LACC volunteers planted 123 trees. Groups of volunteers from Disney and Wells Fargo Bank dug in and helped with the planting. The festivities started with a breakfast provided by Starbucks and ended with a lunch provided by Councilmember Rivas.

The Street Tree Seminar booth welcomed many visitors including Smokey, the bear, and engaged with visitors about the benefits of the urban forest.

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2019 Green Industry Awards

On Saturday, May 4th Emina Darakjy the president of Street Tree Seminar attended the 2019 Green Industry Awards Induction Ceremony at the Proud Bird Restaurant near LAX. Emina happily reports that one of our own, Rose Epperson, was inducted in the Green Industry Hall of Fame, a well-deserved recognition. Congratulations Rose.

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Wildfire and the urban forest

I was fortunate to be included in a forestry tour of the areas surrounding the town of Paradise CA on May 2nd – organized by the Arbor Day Foundation. As you are all aware, the devastation was overwhelming and heartbreaking. The stark reality of addressing how to live differently in what is a remarkably beautiful place was the issue running through our conversations the entire day. I can completely understand why people choose to live here.

After driving through miles and miles of dead/burned forests (with several tour stops along the way) we arrived at Paradise Lake/Reservoir. Bucolic. Picture postcard perfect. Those groups and agencies responsible for the areas surrounding the lake (water source for Paradise) had performed forest management work before the fires. It was remarkable as you could see where the fire came through but did not kill the trees, and the fire slowed. I certainly am not an expert, but this was remarkably telling and encouraging.

Urban and rural forests have not typically had many commonalities. We know of each other, and there is enormous respect, but we haven’t had to look at ways to co-exist and deliver on shared outcomes previously. With California’s urban wildfires this is changing. Trees are no villains. They are also victims. How we move forward addressing the clear need to appropriately manage the forests where people live is being addressed by The State of California. Making sure we do not lose sight of the benefits trees, and forests deliver while making communities safer has to stay in clear focus.

The problem is a human one as is the solution.

Nancy Hughes, Executive Director

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Daniel Kump

Daniel has been a Certified Arborist since 2008 and is District Manager of The Davey Tree Experts R/C office, located in San Diego. He graduated from Purdue in 2005 with a degree in Forestry, with an area of specialization in International Resource Management. He began his career with Davey Tree as a climber in 2008, completed the Davey Institute of Tree Science course in 2009 and advanced into a sales and management role shortly thereafter. In his spare time when he is not helping clients with their trees, he enjoys surfing, yoga, hiking, fishing and spending quality time with his 3 kids. Daniel loves sharing his passion for trees and how they have the ability to heal and help us deal with a fast paced, environmentally challenged world.

Matt Deines

As a Senior Planner at UC Irvine, Matt is involved in the management of the campus urban forest including volunteer tree planting and reforestation efforts due to a shot hole borer infestation. Hailing from the home of Arbor Day, Nebraska, Matt has brought his enthusiasm for trees from the plains to southern California.


Upcoming Events


September 26 – 28
San Luis Obispo


Street Tree Seminar

Pests and Tree Care for 2019

JJ Mauget 5435 Peck Road,
Arcadia 91006

May 22
10:30 am to 1:30 pm

Register on the Street Tree Seminar website

Central Coast Regional Urban Forest Council

Trees Among Us


Saturday, May 25 | 9 to 11 a.m.
Mission Plaza in Downtown San Luis Obispo

Learn about the benefits that trees provide!
Hosted by City Arborist Ron Combs
Join Cal Poly’s Dr. Matt Ritter for a tree walk and discussion throughout Mission Plaza.

Sacramento Valley Regional Urban Forest Council

Unveiling the City of Sacramento’s new Urban Forest Master Plan

June 13 @ 11:30 am1:00 pm




The California Natural Resources Agency will be accepting project proposals for the Environmental Enhancement and Mitigation Program from April 12, 2019 through June 17, 2019. Approximately $6.7 million in awards will be funded by this program.  Applicants submitting the most competitive proposals will be invited to participate in the next level of the competitive process, anticipated late Summer, Early Fall 2019.  

Eligibility and program requirements, including online submittal information, can be found at: http://resources.ca.gov/grants/environmental-enhancement-and-mitigation-eem/

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