20,250 Trees Planted by 2,547 Volunteers

20,250 Trees Planted by 2,547 Volunteers
Forest Aid Meets ’09 Goal in San Bernardino Nat’l Forest

Lake Arrowhead – Southern California’s largest volunteer effort to restore public lands has successfully completed its first tree planting season. Forest Aid, a partnership with the U.S. Forest Service, the San Bernardino National Forest Association (SBNFA) and L.A.-based TreePeople planted 20,250 seedlings. This multi-year, volunteer-led effort extended from March 7 – May 9 for the 2009 season. The seedlings will help restore the fire-damaged San Bernardino National Forest.

Forest Aid was created in response to the 2007 and 2003 tragic wildfires where 185,000 acres burned in the San Bernardino National Forest. These devastating fires were driven by forest densification, drought and the subsequent bark beetle infestation. Replanting needs to occur shortly after wildfires to ensure growth. If replanting is delayed, forestland turns to brush and becomes even more susceptible to fires and devastation.

"This tremendous tree planting effort is a wonderful example of community partnerships," said Jeanne Wade Evans, Forest Supervisor of the San Bernardino National Forest. "We're pleased that folks care enough to volunteer time and efforts toward replanting fire burned areas, improving the health of the forest for generations to come."

According to the local Forest Service, (Forest Service Assessment 2008) 1.5 million new trees need to be planted promptly on 60,000 acres of land ravaged by the wildfires, especially in high need areas. This reforestation is important to water quality and to mitigate erosion and possible landslides that could impair mountain access.

"The Forest Aid partnership brought many new people to the mountains and provided a fun volunteer experience for individuals and groups," said Sarah Miggins, SBNFA executive director. “Volunteers came from as faraway as Long Beach and as near as Big Bear." Forest Aid addressed priories including watershed recovery, accumulated fuels in the wildlands, massive erosion and loss of forestland. This effort included community groups, business leaders and government agencies.

Eighty-three volunteer Reforestation Supervisor leaders were trained to ensure seedlings were properly planted. “TreePeople is especially thankful to the volunteer leaders who stepped forward each day to work with other volunteers,” said Jim Summers TreePeople’s Reforestation Initiative Director. “We’re also grateful to our friends at The Walt Disney Company, Boeing and others who provided funds to make Forest Aid possible.”

The 2010 Forest Aid planting season will begin in late February and continue through early May, pending weather and soil conditions. Interested volunteers, volunteer leaders and sponsors are welcome for the 2010 season. Please contact info@forestaid.net or www.forestaid.net for more information.

About Forest Aid: The United States Forest Service, the San Bernardino National Forest Association and TreePeople are partnering to plant 20,000 seedlings in 2009 to help rebuild a healthy San Bernardino National Forest. This partnership is based on a simple belief: That a single person planting a single tree can help revitalize fire-damaged areas, effect climate change, clean the air, capture rainwater and build a sense of community. Forest Aid’s mission is to replant and revitalize the mountains of Southern California.

About the San Bernardino National Forest Association: The San Bernardino National Forest Association (SBNFA) founded in 1993 is a key education, conservation and recreation nonprofit partner to the U.S. Forest Service creating partnerships that bridge the gap between forest visitors and nature through environmental interpretive programming and initiatives that promote forest appreciation and restoration. The SBNFA offers outdoor recreational programs that foster respect for the forest, the environment and stewardship, while providing hands-on activities for all ages. For more information call (909) 382-2796 or visit www.sbnfa.org.

About TreePeople: Founded in 1973 by teenagers, TreePeople staff and volunteers continue to plant trees and restore the pollution-damaged mountains of Southern California. TreePeople’s mission is to inspire, engage and support people to take personal responsibility for the urban environment, making it safe, healthy, fun and sustainable and to share the results as a model for the world. For more information call (818) 753-4600 or visit www.treepeople.org.
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