4/15-5/3: Central Library Lower Level/Children’s Library area will be closed due to construction work.

Adams Elementary students help staff plant a new tree on Arbor Day

Arbor Week Brings More Trees to Santa Barbara

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The City of Santa Barbara’s Urban Forestry program celebrated Arbor Week by planting new trees across the city. The observance is recognized in California from March 7 through March 14.

Connecting Students with Nature

Students at Franklin Elementary help staff plant new trees during Arbor Week.

Tree planting events hosted at local elementary schools provided interactive learning experiences to educate students about the importance of trees while encouraging them to take an active role in caring for the environment. Third- and sixth-grade students heard from members of the City’s Urban Forestry team before helping plant new trees on campus for current and future students to enjoy.

“Arbor Week is an opportunity to get kids excited about trees and all the important benefits they provide,” said Nathan Slack, City of Santa Barbara Urban Forest Superintendent. “It's about fostering a genuine connection with the environment and instilling in them the importance of preserving our natural resources for the future.” 

Nonprofit organization Santa Barbara Beautiful funded the purchase of the new trees and copies of The Magic and Mystery of Trees and In Search of the Old Ones: An Odyssey Among Ancient Trees for the libraries of all local elementary and secondary schools so that students can continue their learning.

Transforming Streets with Shade

A recently Catalina Ironwood planted in a new tree basin

Forestry staff began a new street tree planting project this week as part of a larger initiative to bring shade to streets with limited tree cover. The latest planting effort focuses on the 00-400 blocks of West Valerio and West Islay streets, where current street trees, primarily palm trees, provide little shade. Various species, including native Engelman Oak and Catalina Ironwood, will be planted between the existing trees to help mitigate the urban heat island effect and provide a cooler and more comfortable environment for the neighborhood. In some areas, new tree wells were cut into the concrete to accommodate more street trees. 

The new trees will be added to the Urban Forestry program’s maintenance and watering schedule, with extra attention given in the first 2-3 years to ensure their survival and establishment. As the trees become established and require less intense maintenance, additional trees can be planted and added to the program’s maintenance schedule. This approach ensures that plantings do not outpace the staff and financial resources needed to maintain Santa Barbara’s urban forest.

About Santa Barbara's Urban Forest
The City of Santa Barbara’s Urban Forestry program operates within the Parks and Recreation Department and manages approximately 75,000 trees, 35,000 of which are street trees. With over 450 tree species, Santa Barbara has one of California’s most diverse urban forests. Santa Barbara has held the Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree City USA ® designation for 44 years, making it one of the longest-recognized cities in the country. To learn more, visit SantaBarbaraCA.gov/UrbanForest