In 2009, the City of Oakland reduced the budget for its Tree Division, no longer planting new street-trees or proactively pruning existing street-trees.
Arthur Boone established a volunteer tree-planting program in 2010 to fill the void. This program later came to be called the "Sierra Club Tree Team". With financial support from a variety of donors and grants, and the help of volunteers, this program has planted over a thousand trees and pruned hundreds more. The Sierra Club Tree Team still plants and prunes trees in Oakland.
CAL FIRE GRANT
In 2015, The Oakland Parks and Recreation Foundation (OPRF) and Keep Oakland Beautiful (KOB) received grant funding for a project called "Trees for the Oakland Flatlands", to plant 1,500 trees over three years, starting January 2016. "Trees for Oakland" formed as a new project of OPRF in 2017.
The grant is administered by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE)'s Urban & Community Forestry Program, with money pulled from the state's Climate Investments. The grant applies to communities deemed “environmentally-disadvantaged”, according to the CalEnviroScreen 2.0 rating system.
"Trees for the Oakland Flatlands" involves planting trees in the areas of Oakland rated in CalEnviroScreen's top 25% (most severely impacted), or within one-half mile of these areas. Every one of Oakland's Council Districts has areas that meet these criteria.
Most of the trees we plant will be along the sidewalk, but we may plant within public areas like parks, libraries, and schools. We may even plant in front yards, back yards, and other private properties, if homeowners understand that they have to keep the tree alive and thriving for at least 40 years, and that they must make the tree available for inspection by CAL FIRE on request.
The primary purpose of the program is to absorb and sequester carbon dioxide as the trees grow, so larger trees are better for this goal. Beyond carbon sequestration, the new trees will also provide many other environmental and social benefits to the community.
In 2017, the Oakland City Council approved a two-year budget that restores one of the two tree-maintenance crews that were cut in 2009 -- a good step toward giving proper public support for Oakland's trees.
To contribute to the urban forest in all of Oakland by planting and maintaining trees in the city, with emphasis in areas with limited canopy. By doing so, we aim to educate people about trees, combat climate change, and provide a more equitable distribution of trees within Oakland.
An Oakland that is lusher, and more beautiful, with better air quality that would lead to the improved well-being of people who live, work, and visit the city. The City of Oakland will have resumed its tree services and our volunteer tree-planting program would continue to contribute as a supplement to the city services. All of this would happen in an environment with a productive management structure, and a reliable volunteer structure that matches the needs of our services.
Our Current Goals:
TreesForOaklandHetty (at) gmail (dot) com