City Council members, children from the Newhall Community Center after-school program, and Mayor Laurene Weste all joined together on Saturday morning for a tree-planting ceremony in commemoration of Earth Day.
The tree planting event, held at the Newhall Community Center, was done in conjunction with the Neighborhood Clean-Up event in which residents were able to pick up supplies that would assist them in cleaning up trash in and around their neighborhoods.
Weste said it was important to have children there and emphasized why it was so important to be teaching the next generation about the environment.
“Well, how long do you want your planet to last? If you don’t help teach kids about nature and trees and plants and things that create air and provide food,” said Weste, “I mean, they will be the ones that in the future will be teaching their kids. So we need to keep that consistency going. It’s very important for human beings to have that relationship to Earth and plants and, and let them be involved in nature and then they appreciate it.”
Weste said Santa Clarita has always been a park- and tree-friendly city that held arborism in high regard. Weste also said this practice is part of the efforts that the city of Santa Clarita is doing to combat climate change.
“Everything we have planted in the city is drought-tolerant and we are the largest user of smart controller water systems so that they only water when it’s absolutely needed, and they shut down when it rains. We’re the largest user of that than any city in the United States,” said Weste. “We also have bought 13,000 acres of open space, which helps keep our air clean and our water and allows people to go out in nature. We’re connecting wildlife corridors. No other city in the United States has bought 13,000 acres of open space.”
In addition to Weste, City Council members Marsha McLean, Cameron Smyth and Bill Miranda were also in attendance. The crape myrtle tree that was planted was placed in the back parking lot of the community center.
The parking lot of the center was also one of three locations where residents could pick up supplies for the neighborhood cleanup, the others being Central Park and the Canyon Country Community Center.
Darin Seegmiller, environmental services manager for the city of Santa Clarita, said that in addition to keeping the streets of the city clean, there are other reasons why the city is doing this event.
“One of the things that is important to us as a region, and as a city is keeping trash and pollutants out of the Santa Clara River,” said Seegmiller. “So when you drive around town and you see trash or things in the storm drain or in the gutters, that will just eventually, when it rains, will just get carried straight out to the Santa Clara River. And obviously that’s a problem because the Santa Clara River is a very vital resource to our ecosystem and wildlife and for recreation.”
Seegmiller said that although these big projects are great for improving environmental conditions in Santa Clarita, small decisions and lifestyle changes can also make a big impact.
“This is just our effort to help people focus on those small decisions, you know, do I flick it out the window or do I more than hold on to it for a few more minutes until I’m home, where I can throw it away,” said Seegmiller. “We’re really…grateful for the community for coming out and supporting this type of event. We can only do these types of events with the volunteer efforts of the community. And so we’re just extremely grateful for everybody taking time out of their weekend to come and support us.”