Pioneering Oakland-based urban forest organization Urban Releaf is proud to announce its participation in From The Ground Up’s statewide “Invest From the Ground Up” (IFGU ) tree-planting event, taking place Saturday, February 15, 2014. IFGU will plant over 1,200 trees in total at 19 locations all across California, including San Leandro Boulevard and Fruitvale Ave. in Oakland, in partnership with Urban Releaf; 100 trees are scheduled to be planted at this location.

Along with Urban Releaf, other partners in Feb. 15th’s tree planting include District 5 City Councilmember Noel Gallo, the Unity Council, the East Bay Bicycle Coalition, and the California Urban Forests Council. The San Leandro/Fruitvale tree-planting is being promoted as a “bicycle-friendly” event which highlights the environmentally-friendly connection between urban forestry and bicyclists; volunteers are encouraged to ride or take BART to Fruitvale, and there will be bike valet parking onsite, courtesy of the East Bay Bicycle Coalition.

“Urban Releaf has been serving the community for more than fifteen years, and we are pleased to be a part of this effort to plant so many trees throughout California in just a single day,” said Executive Director and founder Kemba Shakur.

“It’s exciting to see urban forestry receive more widespread recognition, and we are particularly pleased to be partnering with From the Ground Up and the East Bay Bicycle Coalition, as well as the California Urban Forests Council, Councilmember Gallo and the Unity Council, with whom we’ve worked frequently in the past. Planting 100 trees in a single day is a significant undertaking, and one which the community will benefit from for years to come – both in terms of environmental impacts, and making the Fruitvale District more aesthetically-pleasing to look at and live in,” she added.

From the Ground Up Program Director Connie Gallippi said, “We are very pleased to see so many communities involved in improving their quality of life and environment.  Trees provide so many great benefits to our communities.  The trees being planted in Oakland will provide shade and breathable air, capture particulate matter, and bring new life to the region.  These trees will be working hard for the community and are a very wise investment!”

Gallippi also noted the many benefits of trees, including reducing heat island effect and greenhouse gas emissions, saving energy, cleaning water and air, providing aesthetic and habitat value, and improving public health. Planting trees is also advantageous in times of drought, mitigating longterm impacts by increasing stormwater uptake, resulting in less wasted water.

Added Councilmember Gallo, “We are very happy to partner with Urban Releaf on this great project which is part of a larger tree planting effort. Planting 100 trees in the community of Fruitvale will improve air quality, help deter crime and will bring communities together. Let’s continue to work together for a better Oakland.”

Volunteers are encouraged to participate in the tree planting, which starts at 10 a.m. on Saturday, and will be supervised by certified arborists who will teach volunteers about the benefits of trees and demonstrate proper planting standards and tree care.  The meet-up place will be Guadalajara Taqueria on the corner of Fruitvale and San Leandro – within easy biking and walking distance of the Fruitvale BART station.

For more information, visit www.urbanreleaf.org  and  www.investfromthegroundup.org

For media inquiries and interview requests, contact Urban Releaf Program Manager Kevin Jefferson, 415-955-7146 or info@urbanreleaf.com

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