Jacket hoods and umbrellas were up on April 22 as about 1,000 children from seven Santa Clara elementary schools and Buchser Middle School gathered in Central Park in the rain for Santa Clara’s annual Earth and Arbor Day celebration. The 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. event was open to the community.
For the 29th consecutive year, Santa Clara received the National Arbor Day Foundation Tree City USA Award and flag for its commitment to tree care and the environment. It also received a 16th National Arbor Day Foundation Growth Award.
“These awards recognize the work of elected officials, staff and citizens who plant and care for the community forest. Trees are a vital component of the infrastructure in our cities and towns and provide environmental and economic benefits. A community, and its citizens, that recognizes these benefits and provides needed care for trees deserves recognition and thanks,” said California Department of Forestry and Fire Chief Jesse Morris, who presented the awards to Santa Clara Acting City Manager Rajeev Batra, Deputy Director of Public Works Dave Staub and City Councilmember Debi Davis.
The opening ceremonies with children’s entertainment took place in the Community Recreation Center theater. At outdoor booths, environmental groups shared information.
Led by teachers Brenna Burnette and Melissa Le, more than 50 kindergarten students from Don Callejon Elementary School sang their favorite Arbor Day songs–”Under a Shady Tree and “Trees, Trees, Trees.”
“We’ve learned about trees, recycling, reusing and reducing all week,” said Le. “Celebrating here is the culmination.”
Kavitha Satheesh, the mother of a Pomeroy Elementary School kindergartener, spoke of the impact of environmental studies on her son, Sharish.
“The teachers are doing a good job in teaching kids about the environment. They do artwork and learn how plants grow,” said Satheesh. “My son planted a seed in class that we planted in the back garden. He saw trash on the street and picked it up while we were walking home from school.”
This is the second year that the Earth and Arbor Day celebration, organized and facilitated by the Public Works Department, was held in Central Park.
“This is a very important event for the city. The staff did a great job of realigning plans at the last minute because of the weather,” said Staub.
“It’s a great way to spread awareness about environmental issues,” he continued. “The students learn at school and take it home. They educate their parents and become environmentally aware citizens.”
“Trees have leaves and they live. I like trees because they’re beautiful,” explained Isabelle, a young citizen in teacher Shannon Allen’s kindergarten class at Scott Lane Elementary School.
“Trees have leaves and they tickle us,” said her classmate Andrea.