About 100 Girl Scouts and a number of other volunteers took about an hour on Saturday to plant 100 native trees and bushes at Alston Park, a popular spot among Napa’s dog lovers, hikers and joggers.
Under bright and sunny skies, the volunteers — about 175 in all — grabbed shovels and garden trowels to plant live oaks, redbuds, valley oaks and toyons, a bush, for Napa’s 21st annual Arbor Day event. Arbor Day, scheduled in hundreds of places nationwide, allows cities like Napa to be part of a “Tree City USA” program, which highlights tree planting, care and preservation.
Mayor Jill Techel came to Alston Park with proclamation in hand, designating April 30 as “Arbor Day” in Napa.
“People want to make a difference,” Techel observed, as Girl Scouts of all ages, most wearing blue T-shirts from sponsor Pacific Gas & Electric Co., headed to the plateau where the trees and shrubs were to be planted.
PG&E contributed about $1,000 for the plants, organizers said.
Greg Holquist, a troop leader with Junior Girls Troop 48 on Mt. Veeder, and a PG&E forester, helped coordinate the event with the city.
The Girl Scouts’ Napa Unit, which oversees the troops in the area, wanted to plant
100 trees this year to kick off the Girl Scouts’ 100th birthday, which will be celebrated through 2012, he and other troop leaders explained. Youth leader Juliette Gordon Low founded the Girls Scouts in 1912.
“We’re kind of getting a head start on it,” said Lori Halsey, a co-leader with Brownie Troop 10800, referring to the Girl Scouts’ 100th birthday, as her 8-year-old daughter, Claire, and fellow Brownies, Cecilia Nuss and Josephine Borsetto, moved dirt, trowels in hand.
The troop, Halsey said, is proud to celebrate the anniversary with PG&E and the city of Napa and make “the world a better place.”
“It benefits the community. It benefits Napa,” Halsey said.
Arbor Day events are scheduled at different locations in Napa every year, the mayor said. Dave Perazzo, Napa’s parks superintendent, explained the city chose Alston Park this year because the trees provide shade for the public.
“This is a very heavily used park,” Perazzo added.
City crews laid out the planting area and prepared the site before Saturday’s event, including breaking up soil to make planting easier on the young people, said Perazzo, a certified arborist.
Organizers were pleased. “It went really well,” said Judy Matulich-Weitz, the Girl Scouts’ Napa Service Unit director.
The girls said they enjoyed the tree planting.
“It was fun,” said Ellie Katleba, 9, as she and her mom headed home.