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On its first Arbor Day Celebration on Mar. 8, the City of El Monte proudly announced its recent designation as a Tree City USA.
The event, celebrated outside City Hall, allowed for public officials, students, and residents to celebrate the prestigious new title with the planting of several new trees, including a large cedar in front of the Police Station.
Glenn Barley, Unit Forester at CAL FIRE, presented the City Council with a certificate labeling El Monte as a Tree City USA. It is a status that the City achieved by meeting four standards of sound urban forestry management: maintaining a tree board or department, having a community tree ordinance, spending at least $2 per capita on urban forestry, and celebrating Arbor Day.
“Our City just turned 100,” said Councilwoman Norma Macias, who has been a consistent supporter of trees and nature since she started her public service, “and it is wonderful that we are here, for the first time, able to be a Tree City USA. Some of you will be able to come back 20 and 30 years from now and see these trees that we are just about to plant.”
“This is for you, for your future,” said Councilwoman Victoria Martinez to students from Columbia and Voorhis Elementary and El Monte High School who were present. “I am proud to say that I am from the Tree City USA City of El Monte.”
To make it that much more official, Smokey the Bear, the mascot of the United States Forest Service, attended the event.
After the closing comments, the El Monte Council members did the ceremonial planting of the cedar, and the younger children helped plant new trees at one side of City Hall.
Everyone in attendance was gifted with a tree seedling which label commemorated El Monte’s designation as a Tree City USA.
El Monte residents were presented with tree seedlings.
-Photo and story by Dena Burroughs