March 7-14 is California Arbor Week, which was established to honor the birthday of Luther Burbank, a botanist and horticulturist who was born on March 7, 1849. California Arbor Week is part of the California ReLeaf state program, whose goal is to inspire people to plant, nurture and celebrate trees.

With springtime around the corner, The Keep Eureka Beautiful (KEB) Committee invites the public to participate in their mission to plant trees for a healthy and beautiful community. On March 7, the public was invited to celebrate the start of Arbor Week with a tree planting and barbecue in Hammond Park on 14th and E streets in Eureka. The park was renovated last summer with a new a playground, basketball courts, tennis courts, picnic tables and restrooms. There has been an marked increase in use of the park by families and neighbors since the improvements were completed.

Keep Eureka Beautiful is an all-volunteer organization founded in 1996 to promote civic pride, beautification and economic development. The organization encourages residents and businesses to maintain and enhance Eureka’s “Victorian Seaport” with tree plantings in parks, schoolyards, along streets and at local residences. Communities that are kept clean and attractive promote civic pride, enjoy more economic prosperity, calmer traffic patterns and discourage crime and graffiti. KEB promotes reasonable size and placement of commercial billboards, planting trees, and encouraging business and homeowners to plant gardens, built attractive fences and keep their buildings freshly painted.

Over the years Keep Eureka Beautiful has planted about 1,200 street and front yard trees. There is no charge for trees or materials and KEB volunteers will help with planting. They just ask you to take responsibility for watering and caring for your tree. If sidewalk cuts are necessary, they will arrange for it to be done for a $75 fee to help offset the cost. If you are interested in having a street tree in front of your home or business, contact KEB. More information can be found on their website at have a practical as well as aesthetic purpose. Studies have shown that urban greenery improves public health in many ways. Nature connects us to other living things and with more greenery in cities and towns, residents feel encouraged to be physically active and exercise outdoors. This results in greater overall physical health. Everyone sleeps better after a day of outdoor activity! Children develop less asthma and ADD symptoms and adults have reduced stress levels and an overall improvement in their mental health.

Most of us appreciate the simple pleasures and the magic of nature. Tending plants lets us be compassionate nurturers, while being outdoors in the natural environment allows us to focus on the present moment and worry less about the past or future. Nature reminds us of the cycle of life and the role that death plays in it, so that we are better able to understand our mortality. When we honor and tend the earth, we remember we are not alone.

There are positive, lasting impacts for those living in greener communities. Trees build safe, strong neighborhoods. They add property value and reduce energy bills. Communities that work together planting trees and beautifying their neighborhoods build strong bonds that create a safer and friendlier environment.

Celebrate California Arbor Week this year by taking care of our neighborhoods, making new friends and caring for the natural world.If you would like to volunteer and learn more about KEB, visit the website at

Terra Freedman resides in Eureka.

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