Lionel and I were excited to hear from Cory Meyer and the North County Earth Day organizers early in the 2010 that a tree planting was scheduled for the April 18th celebration at Atascadero Lake Park. The planting would be a double celebration, promoting both Earth Day and Arbor Day. We’d discussed the site as a possibility over the years but somehow never had the right contacts to make it happen. With a newly formed partnership between One Cool Earth, the Atascadero Parks and Recreation Department, the California Conservation Corp and the Atascadero High School Green Club we had the right mix of permissions, material support, muscle and followup to realize this great improvement to the park and community. One Cool Earth provided madrone trees, tools, and time while Parks and Recreation provided valley oaks, caging, and tools and did the background work, verifying that neighbors wouldn’t lose their much loved view of the lake. The CCC and Green Club put their backs into the planting and the Green Club adopted the watering of the trees for the first two years. At the end of the three hours we had 20 brand new trees for the park.
Trees around the border of the lake provide many of the usual benefits that trees bring, such as carbon sequestration, habitat improvement, erosion mitigation and beautification. However, next to Atascadero lake, the trees would shade the water, lowering water temperatures and potentially reducing the loss of oxygen from the lake, which can cause it to smell bad. Tree roots would also reduce eutrophication by absorbing excess nutrients from the lake waters.
Stay tuned, future plantings are planned!