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I think I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree
Turlock celebrates Arbor Day
Fourth graders from Earl Elementary School plant a tree at Cimarron Park during the City of Turlock’s annual Arbor Day celebration in April 2009. - photo by Journal file photo

Tree Facts

• Visual exposure to settings with trees can reduce stress
• Planting trees improves water quality
• Trees planted around building can reduce air conditioning needs by 30 percent and can save more than 20 percent in energy used for heating
• One acre of forest absorbs six tons of carbon dioxide and puts out four tons of oxygen
• Trees can increase property values as much as 20 percent
• The net cooling effect of one tree is equivalent to ten room-size air conditioners operating 20 hours a day

— Information provided by


Trees play an important role in the community. From the shade they provide to their role in making the Valley’s air cleaner, trees are an essential element of local landscape and this is why the City of Turlock celebrates National Arbor Day in a big way.
For the past 19 years, the City of Turlock has been planting trees around town as part of Arbor Day, while fulfilling a requirement to be named a Tree City U.S.A.
To be given the title as Tree City U.S.A., a city must have an active tree department through municipal services, have a tree care ordinance, provide a community-wide forestry program, as well as have an annual Arbor Day celebration.
For this year’s Arbor Day celebration, 48 trees will be planted in the storm basin behind Walnut Elementary School off of Walnut Road and Christoffersen Parkway. There will be four 4th grade classes from Walnut Elementary School that will help plant the 48 trees at 10 a.m. on April 30. Turlock Mayor John Lazar will also attend the annual celebration.  
The trees that the City of Turlock are planting are part of the Environmental Enhancement and Mitigation grant provided by the Department of Transportation. The grant sponsors over 362 trees, 312 of which are already planted in the storm basin behind Walnut Elementary.
The City picked the storm basin for tree planting because that land used to be an orchard, said Carla McLaughlin, staff services technician for the City of Turlock Municipal Services Department. The City plants trees in storm basins through their urban forest project where they “replant trees that have been removed.”
Trees planted in the storm basin will be placed on the outside of the basin so Turlockers can continue to play soccer in the center of the field, she said.   
Turlock’s Arbor Day celebration is special within the State of California because the state celebrates Arbor Day in early March, but Turlock celebrates Arbor Day with the rest of the nation at the end of April.
According to McLaughlin, Turlock celebrates Arbor Day in April instead of March because “it’s a good time to plant trees.”
The newly planted trees will help remove pollutants from the air to promote a healthy community, provide a moderate climate with shade, conserve water and provide a habitat for wildlife, McLaughlin said. Trees can also increase property values and reduce energy use.
Before planting the 48 trees on April 30, the City will also educate the four 4th grade classrooms on caring for trees and their importance before the digging begins, McLaughlin said. The City is hoping that each student will take ownership of the trees they plant to help protect them and watch them grow.
Turlock’s April 30 Arbor Day celebration is open to the public.
To contact Maegan Martens, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.