About 100 trees will be planted throughout the Heritage District during the Arbor Day celebration. The celebration will take place Saturday at 9 a.m. in Hale Park and will be organized by both Tree Lodi and the City of Lodi.

“The city has enjoyed Arbor Day for many years,” Tree Lodi president and former city employee Steve Dutra said.

According to Dutra, this will be the first time a non-city organization is involved with planning the event. During this year’s celebration, Lodi will join 10 cities across the state in planting 1,650 trees as part of the Circle 2.0 Program initiative to plant trees in or near disadvantaged communities. Lodi has secured a grant for the project and Tree Lodi and West Coast Arborists are partners in the grant.

“A project like this gives us the opportunity to reinforce the benefits of trees or educate someone that might not already have that knowledge,” Dutra said. “It’s a pretty well known fact that trees provide oxygen that we benefit from. They do improve community health. They provide a 10 to 15 percent increase in property values. Yes, there is some work and maintenance attached to having an urban forest, but the benefits heavily outweigh the responsibilities. It was very fitting that Heritage District receive the benefits through this effort, and it was nice of the city and the residents to come together to make it happen.”

Tree Lodi-trained tree stewards spent all of February going from door to door informing residents of the project, and asked residents to enter into water agreements with the city if a tree is planted near their home. Tree Lodi was able to secure 64 water agreements for the city, more than any of the other cities participating in the project, Dutra said. Buckets will be provided to residents who agreed to water the trees.

According to Dutra, the trees have been ordered and the final species list has been signed off by the city. The trees will be delivered Friday. Stipulations mapped out in the Cal Fire grant require that the tree species chosen for the project must reach a minimum of 50-feet tall at full maturity, Dutra said.

“The main reason for that is to help improve our environment, carbon sequestering and production of oxygen,” Dutra said. “As you know, trees take in carbon dioxide and give out oxygen to the benefit of us humans, so it’s a good a relationship we have with the trees and putting large-stature trees in the community will help with that process.”

Tree species to be planted include approximately 40 live oaks, 28 zelkovas, five willow oaks, 18 elms and an additional variety of shumard oaks.

Through its community outreach, Tree Lodi was able to generate at least 28 partners for the Arbor Day celebration.

Saturday’s festivities will kick off with registration which will be held between 8 and 9 a.m. At 9 a.m., the ceremony will start with the Boy Scouts presenting the colors and the “Pledge of Allegiance.” The national anthem will be performed by a group of local youths living in the Heritage District.

Lodi Mayor Alan Nakanishi and City Manager Steve Schwabauer are both scheduled to say a few words during the event, and several other dignitaries and city officials including Assemblyman Jim Cooper will be in attendance. A representative from Cal Fire will speak about the Circle 2.0 grant and help announce whether Lodi will be designated as a Tree City USA for the 16th year in a row.

Fifth-graders from Heritage School were asked to participate in an Arbor Day poster contest judged by the Lodi Arts Commission, and the winners will be announced during the celebration. Winners will receive cash awards.

“I think we’ve done a great job this year including young people in a lot of facets of this year’s Arbor Day community celebration,” Dutra said.

Following the ceremony, a tree-planting demonstration will be held at the park and volunteers in attendance will plant three trees as a demonstration for those that will be planting that day. Once the demonstration is complete, the volunteers will disperse to the various planting sites to plant the trees. The trees will already be on site, and pre-digging has already been completed. Once all the trees have been planted participants will enjoy a root beer float at the LOEL Center provided by Peter Knight of A&W.

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