Youth organization El Cajon uses grants to plant trees

El Cajon received a grant from the California Urban Forests Council and West Coast Arborists – two tree preservation organizations – to plant more trees and increase the city’s urban canopy.

The $1,625 grant was given to the city’s Teen Coalition and used to plant 55 trees in Wells Park and John F. Kennedy Park.

The Teen Coalition consists of middle and high school students who develop community service projects toward various local efforts.

The city council unanimously approved the receipt of the grant last week.

The funding is part of a statewide tree-planting initiative called “AMPlifying the Urban Forest.”

The California Urban Forests Council and West Coast Arborists, along with other environmental groups, have partnered to enable municipalities across California to plant thousands of trees.

El Cajon recreation services supervisor Fa’amalo “Malo” Lutu said the organizations reached out to the city’s public works department and the Teen Coalition to create a community partnership for tree-planting initiatives. .

Lutu said the Teen Coalition was able to use the funding to plant the trees, as well as supplies and awareness for the event. The Teen Coalition also held tree-planting workshops, which were part of the grant requirements.

Lutu said the trees are a native species that would thrive in the city’s climate. He said the city will continue to work with West Coast Arborists, who have guaranteed to care for and maintain newly planted trees for the first year of their life to ensure they thrive. The organization will replant trees that fail.

El Cajon’s sustainability plan outlines the city’s goal of planting 2,800 trees by 2030.

“It ties into the sustainability plan the city has in place,” Lutu said. “These trees that come in are working to build our urban canopy.”

The climate action plan, titled “Sustainability Initiative: Policies to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions,” outlines three areas where the city aims to plant trees over the next eight years. The plan was adopted in 2020.