With regard to the weather for Thursday morning’s Burbank Tree City USA Ceremony at McCambridge Park, it couldn’t have been more perfect.
And it seemed extremely appropriate because the sun, along with water and nutrients, helps trees grow.
Under a clear blue sky, a bright sun shined down on those gathered celebrating Plant-A-Tree Month and honoring National Arbor Day.
Some of the dignitaries included Mayor Jess Talamantes, Parks and Recreation Director Marisa Garcia, and Chairman of the Parks and Recreation Board Barry Gussow.
Burbank, along with Sacramento, are the only two cities in the state that have at least 40 consecutive years of being committed to Plant-A-Tree Month.
“Parks are part of the community. We have to maintain the parks to make them enjoyable for the residents. That’s who comes to the parks. The kids enjoy the playgrounds. There’s some barbecues set up with a lot of tables that are set up for picnicking if the families wish to do that,” Talamantes said of the beauty of the park and trees. “They’ve got basketball courts. Tennis courts, swimming pools. Whatever the family is interested in, we have the opportunity to participate in that. That’s what’s good about Burbank. We’ve been so flexible and so accommodating.”
Talamantes added: “Over the years the residents have mandated platinum service and we have provided them platinum service, but with that platinum service there is a cost,” he said. “If you want to maintain the level of service at the platinum level, there’s a cost that comes with it. The residents are willing to pay for that level, which I’m all for.”
Talamantes told the youngsters in attendance to ask their parents to take them to a park and enjoy what it has to offer.
Garcia addressed what trees mean for the city. “It really just demonstrates the city’s commitment to urban forestry and forestation and not only do trees provide shade but more and more, as we’re seeing changes in our climate, the benefits are compounded with reducing energy costs and that reflects in reduced energy bills for residents,” she said. “So, 45 years ago when this program started, our leaders had the foresight to commit to this and to continue year after year.”
Garcia continued: “We’ve had many pioneers in the city, whether it’s forestry and thinking ahead in terms of city leadership with really strong utilities,” she noted. “It has been sustainable, and we’ve been able to overcome any obstacles that might come our way. Trees are just natural. It’s one of the things no one thinks about.”
Garcia said there are several thousand trees in Burbank, which has a population of 103,703.
“We have approximately 33,000 trees in the city of Burbank. There are 28,000 on our streets and sidewalks and our parkways and about 5,000 in our parks,” she pointed out. “That’s very commendable, but it’s also important that the city commits to maintaining them. When you’re in an urban environment, there are challenges.”
Trees are special and unique. “Trees are living organisms. Trees live a long, long time, as we do,” Garcia said. “They beautify the city. We love our older mature trees, but we need to plant new trees because our older trees aren’t going to be here forever. We want to make sure we’re replenishing them, so we have a nice mix of older trees and new trees.”
Garcia said in 2021, a goal of 500 trees was to be planted, but was met with 650 trees, which was a huge success.
This being spring break, several dozen children were on hand and after the ceremony, helped shovel dirt for the brand-new tree.
The 25-minute ceremony commenced with Garcia offering an introduction and a greeting to all in attendance.
Gussow led the flag salute. There was a Plant-A-Tree Month proclamation scroll given to the city of Burbank and a Tree City USA Arbor Day Foundation flag also given to the city.