Marsha McLean: A tree-mendous time ahead at Earth Arbor Day Festival

Marsha McLean
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Taking center stage on the Santa Clarita city seal is our beloved oak tree. Since the city was founded in 1987, protecting our beautiful, natural environment has been an ongoing priority for the City Council. Thousands of oak trees make up the expansive oak savannas and woodlands that stretch across our valley, and we value them so much that the city’s very first ordinance was designed to protect them.

Why do we place such a priority on protecting our trees and natural environment? Trees play a major role in producing the oxygen we breathe and clean carbon dioxide out of the air. They are also of critical importance to the ecosystem of our valley; providing habitat and food for our local wildlife.

If you’re interested in learning more about trees and the importance of a healthy ecosystem, a great upcoming event for the entire family is the Earth Arbor Day Festival taking place at Central Park on Saturday, April 27, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The free festival is held in conjunction with the worldwide Earth Day, and is a great opportunity to get yourself, family and friends educated on how to go green and contribute to a cleaner and healthier environment.

Attendees at Earth Arbor Day will learn from our environmental experts how to reduce, reuse and recycle every day. Get a refresher on how to recycle correctly, learn the ins and outs of composting and find out why water conservation is vital in the preservation of our environment.

The festival will kick off with the city celebrating its 29th consecutive year of being awarded the “Tree City USA” designation from the National Arbor Day Foundation and the National Association of State Foresters.

This award recognizes the steps our community takes to effectively manage public tree resources and implement a program that protects trees in our community. Did you know that in the city of Santa Clarita, our Urban Forestry division maintains approximately 115,000 trees? After the Earth Arbor Day Festival you can add an additional 10 trees to that count, as volunteers will be planting 10 new trees in Central Park.

Speaking of trees, the city will be giving away 1,000 one-gallon trees at the festival, while supplies last. In addition, you can give your garden some tender loving care with fresh mulch. A total of 80 yards of mulch will also be given away.

My favorite part of the festival is seeing the environmental art entries that are submitted into our cArt aRt Contest! This contest encourages residents to use their creativity to transform trash carts into beautiful art using paint, art supplies, recycled items and their own creativity! In years past, I have seen some amazing transformations including trash carts designed to look like popular cartoon characters and even giant french fries! I can’t wait to see what the artists come up with this year!

You may also notice while walking around the festival that, besides the decorated trash carts, there are no waste receptacles. That’s because the city of Santa Clarita is committed to making the event a zero-waste festival. Our franchised commercial solid waste services provider, Burrtec Waste Industries, will be providing only recycle and compost bins. Not sure what to do with your trash? A group of volunteers will be available to guide and educate you on which items belong in the recycle or compost bins. Additionally, the city has already worked with the vendors at the event to ensure that all of their products do not generate any waste and can be reused, recycled, or composted.

The Earth Arbor Day festival is combined with the KHTS Santa Clarita Home and Garden Show, as well as the Emergency Expo and KHTS Arts and Crafts Fair. These concurrent festivals will take place on Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with the KHTS events continuing on Sunday, April 28, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. To learn more about the Earth Arbor Day Festival, please visit GreenSantaClarita.com.

Each and every one of us, no matter how young or old, should be taking care of the environment. This year, I ask you to renew your commitment to reduce, reuse and recycle, and to protect and preserve our environment. I hope to see you at the Earth Arbor Day Festival. It’s going to be a TREE-mendous time for the entire family!

Mayor Marsha McLean is a member of the Santa Clarita City Council and can be reached at [email protected]

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