The list of twenty-two participants in Benicia’s Third Annual Arbor Day Celebration to be held Saturday, October 15, 2011, 10am to 2pm, in Benicia City Park is more than twice the number that participated in last year’s event, reflecting a growing interest in supporting trees and community building in Benicia, according to Wolfram Alderson, Executive Director of the Benicia Tree Foundation. The free event is packed with activities and events that are designed to be fun and educational for people of all ages.

“This years’ celebration will feature a native plant sale, food, music, educational presentations, awards, local green products and business, puppetry, arts and crafts, expert advice on trees & gardening, girl scouts, and a free bicycle valet service,” Alderson states. A special new “Benicia Tree-Keeper” scout patch will be unveiled at the event, acknowledging scouts’ efforts in the City of Benicia related to tree planting activities.

Jessica Walsh-Krenicki, President of the Board of the Benicia Tree Foundation, claims that “What we are ultimately concerned about is bringing people together to take positive environmental actions – and trees are superb vehicles for making this happen. The Benicia Tree Foundation is so pleased to play a role in supporting Benicia’s vibrant community landscape and assuring that our urban forest thrives.”

In conjunction with the Arbor Day celebration, a city-wide Tree Art and Science Challenge open to 5th grade to 12th grade students in Benicia was offered this year. The winners will be announced at the Arbor Day event, and awarded with iPad prizes. Complete details and online registration for the challenge is provided on the Benicia Tree Foundation website: The school attended by the winning student will also be awarded a plaque, honoring the creative and intellectual accomplishment of the winning student.

Prior to the Arbor Day event, two special activities are occurring Thursday, October 13, 2011, commemorating Benicia’s Arbor Day: a new Tree City U.S.A. sign is being installed a the 2nd Street off ramp at 1pm, and a tree planting will occur in Community Park on, at 3:30 pm, supported by Cub Scout Pack 108. Theron Jones, Parks Maintenance Supervisor for the City of Benicia, will be leading the activities and Benicia Tree Foundation is sponsoring the tree in honor of the local scouts.

Alderson reports that “Over 100 trees have been planted this last year, and the list of Benicia Tree Keepers — citizens who support tree planting and maintenance activities — now includes a growing list of local residents, students, and local businesses, and dozens of volunteers.”

Pamela Blakey and her husband Doug Hart are among the list of Benicia Tree-Keepers that will be honored at the event. “We planted nine Photinia trees in our backyard to screen traffic along Military West. This has been a truly positive win-win situation for us, the environment, and for the beautification of Benicia. When we planted our trees with the support of Benicia Tree Foundation staff and volunteers, Mayor Elizabeth Patterson stopped by to acknowledge our efforts to help beautify one the main traffic corridors in Benicia." commented Pamela Blakey. Mayor Patterson remarked that “Tree planting is one of the most affordable and effective ways of slowing traffic down – people drive more slowly because the shade suggest a neighborhood rather than a ‘speedway’. Pam and Doug are stepping up to do their part in beautifying one of most important corridors and demonstrating that a growing cadre of residents in Benicia want to make a positive difference in the community environment through the efforts of private citizens and local nonprofits like the Benicia Tree Foundation.”

Ed Brennan, a Consulting Arborist who resides in Benicia, reminds local residents that “There were no trees in Benicia prior to humans settling here and previous generations had the foresight to plant trees and to recognize that trees are an important part of the community landscape. We need to keep this work going and planting trees are great way to build relationships within the community.”

Sue Wickham, Plant Sales Chair for the California Native Plant Society, remarked that “The Benicia Arbor Day event is a wonderful way to educate our citizens about the great trees we have and could have in our city. Look for the California Native Plant Society booth for some great take home information on native trees that do well in our area. We'll have plants for sale too!"

Other Arbor Day participants exhort Benicia residents to come to the event: “A La Cart will be serving local organic food at the Arbor Day event because what we eat can change the world, strengthen our communities, protect our environment, and keep us healthy," says Matthew Wallace, owner of A La Cart, a mobile food vendor based in Benicia. Deirdre Cruz, Manager with Arbonne International and daughter of James Doohan, the actor known as “Scotty” in the Star Trek series, explains that she will be featuring Arbonne’s Vegan line of products that are botanically-based, free of harmful chemicals, and with packaging certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. “Our line of includes Skin Care for all ages, OrganicCosmeticsandafulllineofNutritionalandWeightManagementproducts. Stopbyourbooth at the Arbor Day event and enter our Raffle Basket Give-a-away!” Joe Leon, Founder of Caterpillar Puppets says "Come see an excellent example of Arbor Day puppetry. Join the Benicia CLEAN-UP CLUB during the Free Puppet Show from the City of Benicia's Sustainability Commission and learn about water conservation (because the trees know about the importance of water)”. Michael Paric, member of the Benicia Bicycle Club, announces that “In our support for clean air and alternative transportation, the Benicia Bicycle Club will be providing FREE Valet Bicycle Parking for all Arbor Day Celebration attendees. We will also have a raffle with prizes from local businesses; everyone who rides their bike gets a FREE raffle ticket, otherwise they are $1 each with all proceeds going towards Rebuilding Together Solano County.”