Treesavers Mark Sad Anniversary
Treesavers held a first anniversary memorial march in memory of the ficus trees that were killed on orders of the City in downtown Santa Monica a year ago.
Environmental and community activists joined Treesavers in the memorial march on Friday, May 15. to “remember and mourn the destruction of 23 mature, healthy ficus trees on Second and Fourth Streets.
Treesavers, wearing black and green, carried candles and before- and-after pictures of the 23 trees. at a brief memorial service at Arizona and the Third Street Promenade.
The service was led by Susan Hartley. Linda Piera-Avila read a portion of Julia Butterfly Hill’s Legacy of Luna and Bob Wolff read his poem “23 Ficus Trees.”
Treesavers then formed a funeral procession and marched, candles and pictures in hand, to each fallen Ficus tree’s “gravesite”. At each site, they shared memories of it. Treesavers Herb and Sally Silverstein commemorated each killed tree with yellow and purple memorial ribbons. The March ended at 4th and Colorado at the site of the killing of five young trees. Louise Steiner spoke, and read a passage from Deuteronomy: “thou shall not destroy the trees thereof by forcing an axe against them.”
The May 16, 2008 tree removal was part of Santa Monica’s $8.2 million-plus “Pedestrian and Streetscape Improvement Project.” All of the neighborhood organizations, along with over 11,000 people who signed petitions, opposed the removal of trees.
Treesavers’ efforts included attempts to convince the City of Santa Monica to listen to its residents and make tree protection and preservation, not tree destruction, a top priority.
One year later Santa Monica is setting up an Urban Forest Master Plan Task Force to advise on the development of a long-range urban forest master plan, review specific urban forest issues related to the master plan, and serve in an advisory capacity to the City Council on urban forestry issues.
The deadline to apply to the Task Force is June 1, 2009. Applications are available on the City’s website at www.smgov.net.