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Fruitridge Manor: ROOTing For A Better Tomorrow!

April 28, 2016

On April 23, Fruitridge Manor became the first neighborhood to participate in Sacramento Tree Foundation’s brand-new South Sacramento NeighborWoods project. Soon after this grant was awarded to us by CAL FIRE, we began searching for a location to host our first community event. We were looking for a “community” space that was easy to find, and where people would gather for some fun and tree planting!

During our search, we heard from Dave Tamayo, who represents much of South Sacramento on the Board of Directors for the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD). Dave told us a story about a community garden that he created several years ago at Peter Burnett Elementary School in the Fruitridge Manor neighborhood. Dave has lived in Fruitridge Manor since 1989, where he has always been active in the community, including co-founding the Fruitridge Manor Neighborhood Association, and advocating for public parks and affordable housing.

At this school, we could restore the community garden! Plant some trees! Provide tree care! Clean-up campus! And throw a fun event for Fruitridge Manor – where community residents could come together and beautify their neighborhood! And so…“Fruitridge Manor: ROOTing For a Better Tomorrow” was born!

Peter Burnett Principal, Manuel Huezo, agreed that the school was the perfect location – and together with the school’s Site Instructional Coordinator, Liz Aguirre, we began the planning process. After Community Forester, Kuldeep Singh, sited 11 trees on campus – where school administrators were especially interested in providing more shade for students during recess – our event began to take shape! We also began planning upgrades for the community garden with Dominic Allamano from Soil Born Farms and Emma Tamayo, daughter of Dave Tamayo.

April 23 was a sunny, crisp morning – perfect conditions for our planned volunteer work! And the perfect day to also celebrate Earth Day and National Arbor Day. More than 130 volunteers attended the event, 50 of those from the Fruitridge Manor neighborhood! Volunteers worked hard to plant 11 new trees on campus, mulch 40+ campus trees, restore the school’s garden, and collect campus trash. A few adventurous volunteers ventured out into the community with our community foresters to provide basic tree care to some Fruitridge Manor residents. Thank you to all of our volunteers – we are so grateful for your hard work and enthusiasm!

After a delicious lunch catered by La Esperanza Market, local residents and volunteers were invited to visit with several local community organizations, including the Girls Scouts, Food Literacy Center, Fruitridge Manor Neighborhood Association, Soil Born Farms, and the Sacramento Tree Foundation while rocking out to music and getting their faces painted! Some residents also participated in an information session to learn more about how they could form a NeighborWoods group and receive free tree through this project! Contact NeighborWoods Specialist, Meredith Thompson, at 916-974-4322 or meredith@sactree.com to learn more about this project.

We would also like to extend our gratitude to several partners that helped make this event possible: Councilmember Eric Guerra, City of Sacramento Urban Forester Joe Benassini, Cal Expo Starbucks, Dave & Emma Tamayo, Sonia Espinosa, PG& E, SMUD, and CAL FIRE.

We are excited to see these trees grow and thrive at Peter Burnett – and to see students enjoying their many benefits for years to come!