Balboa Park. Monday, November 6th. 5th graders. 150 of them. They were everywhere — measuring trees to compute their carbon sequestration potential, hauling buckets to the canopy drip line of a large tree, gauging the water absorption difference between sandy and clay soil, identifying native trees, and answering questions showing they could apply what they learned. These students from Porter Elementary School in San Diego’s Lincoln Park neighborhood and their teachers enjoyed a meaningful day outdoors learning about Balboa Park’s trees and how to care for them.
Rachele Melious, event director, trained a cadre of instructors to teach groups of students who rotated through three stations, with participation by TreeSD’s Tim Lacey and Kurt Peacock, with Magen Shaw, the city’s Balboa Parkhorticulturalist.The youngsters learned the benefits of trees to human and environmental health; how some benefits are calculated using state-of-the-art mapping and computational technology; practiced proper watering of both newly planted and mature trees in our climate; and how to identify four native tree species by their leaves and fruit.
Upon completion, we awarded each student a “Tree Steward” certificate from the San Diego Regional Tree Steward Program. The overall objective is to build a corps of youth and adults who will care for trees in parks and neighborhoods well into the future.
This project was funded by the Outdoor Foundation, San Diego Foundation, and individual contributors from the Balboa Park Conservancy and Tree San Diego and supported by the City’s Park and Recreation Department, the Conservancy, Tree San Diego and One San Diego. Thanks to all who contributed.