The A.S. Environmental Affairs Board made breathing in Isla Vista a little easier this weekend, planting 15 new trees in Estero Park in hopes of offsetting carbon emissions organizers expect will be produced by this month’s upcoming Earth Day Festival.
More than 30 volunteers helped plant the 15 Catalina ironwood trees on Saturday, and plan to plant another 30 before the annual festival, which will take place in Anisq’ Oyo’ Park on April 14 from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.
EAB calculated it will take 22 trees to offset the carbon emissions produced by the Earth Day celebration, but organizers decided to try to exceed this and now plan to plant 45. At the festival, volunteers will teach the community about recycling and other environmental issues. Volunteers said EAB chose to plant the ironwood species because it is native to California; therefore, the trees will not disturb the local ecosystem and can easily survive in current dry weather conditions.
“It’s not every day you can plant something that will impact our community and last 50 to 100 years. I’m about to leave UCSB and I want to leave something significant behind,” said EAB volunteer Elspeth Theis, a senior law & society and psychology major.
Goleta Valley Beautiful, a volunteer organization that works to enhance landscaping in public areas and neighborhoods, teamed up with EAB to provide the tools needed to plant the trees, including shovels, gloves and mulch. In addition, Ken Knight, executive director of Goleta Valley Beautiful, guided the volunteers step by step on the correct procedure to plant a tree.
With three or four volunteers at each planting ground, the group was told to dig a hole about 3 feet wide, followed by Knight instructing them on the perfect balance of soil and water needed before the tree is planted.
“You rarely see the mobilization of over 30 volunteers this early in Isla Vista,” said EAB Co-Chair Ryan Andersen, a senior music composition major. “It’s inspiring.”
An even more impressive number of volunteers is expected at the event in conjunction with Saturday’s tree planting. Alessandra Baer, a co-coordinator of Earth Day Festival, said they are expecting close to 100 locals to show up to help out.
“An integral part of Earth Day is setting an example for the whole community and making a positive impact on our environment,” Baer said.