Balboa Park Conservancy: Preserving Balboa Park’s Urban Forest

Sustainability ProgramBalboa Park Cultural Partnership, Sustainability Program

The Balboa Park Conservancy is continuing to offer an outstanding example of environmental protection through their new Tree Stewards volunteer program. Through this initiative, the Conservancy trains volunteers on how to take care of Balboa Park’s vibrant, urban forest. Volunteers will learn important skills including tree identification, proper planting techniques, irrigation of new and established trees, and general tree maintenance.

The Tree Stewards program is one of two volunteer programs that recently earned the Balboa Park Conservancy recognition as a Certified Service Enterprise from Points of Light, the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service. The certification places the Conservancy in the top 11 percent of nonprofits nationwide in volunteer management and organizational performance.

Tree Balboa Park, the urban forestry project funded by CALFIRE and managed by the Conservancy, goes beyond their initiative to plant 500 trees (featured in an earlier blog). This project emphasizes the establishment and maintenance of the new trees through the installation of energy-efficient and water-saving irrigation, the establishment of the new Tree Stewards volunteer corps, and community outreach. To implement this ambitious effort, the Balboa Park Conservancy partnered with the City of San Diego Parks and Recreation Department, Tree San Diego, and Urban Corps.

So far, more than 300 trees have been planted in the Park’s urban forest, with plans to add 200 more. These new trees will add to Balboa Park’s collection of more than 15,000 unique trees. These thousands of trees are also incredibly diverse; Balboa Park is home to more species than all of L.A. County!

As part of their Tree Balboa Project, the Conservancy has added data about the Park’s urban forest to the website OpenTreeMap. This website offers an interactive map where visitors can see information about individual trees within the Park, including their species, size, and health.

This map also offers information on each tree’s “Eco-Benefits”, the ways that these trees benefit our local community’s environmental quality. These benefits include removing CO2 from the atmosphere, improving the air quality, and preventing polluted water from running off into nearby rivers, bays, and oceans.

Did You Know?

Trees also reduce the amount of energy needed for air conditioning for nearby buildings by providing shade. According to OpenTreeMap, just one Queen Palm near the Natural History Museum saves approximately 111.9 kilowatt hours a year!

The trees in Balboa Park make up an impressive urban forest that offers many benefits to the City of San Diego; providing more than $60 million in environmental asset value. The Balboa Park Conservancy, along with the other members of the Balboa Park Cultural Partnership, is committed to preserving this important piece of nature for generations to come.

Learn how you can help preserve Balboa Park’s Urban Forest: 

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