Cal Poly Rodeo Grounds
On August 2nd and 3rd of 2009, 152 sycamore, catalina cherry and redwood trees were planted on the eastern and southern borders of the Cal Poly Rodeo Grounds. The project embodied OneCoolEarth’s five principles:
The trees were planted with the help of five crews of high school students working in the Summer Civil Conservation Corp. Before the planting, OneCoolEarth workers discussed the value of planting the trees, as well as imparted proper planting techniques. Through this partnership, the student workers acquired basic understanding and skill sets for responsible, holistic, sustainable landscaping.
The trees were planted to augment the Cal Poly Rodeo Grounds, a heavily trafficked area and popular event location.
Native trees were planted to provide habitat for local flora and fauna. Excessive erosion caused by gophers will eventually be stabilized as the tree’s unpalatable root structures take over the ground, holding it together and driving out gophers. Planted alongside a drainage for animal corals uphill from the site, the trees will eventually serve to filter excess nutrients from runoff that could possibly pollute nearby waterways. The trees also mitigate climate change, fixing 140 tons of carbon dioxide.*
Since Cal Poly is liable to the Water District for its runoff, the mitigation of runoff has a direct benefit to both wildlife and humans. The trees serve to cool, shade, and block wind at a hot and dusty site. Eventually, the trees may be managed as a sustainable source of lumber. (This would not negatively affect the carbon offsetting capacity of the project, since harvested trees would be continually replaced and the already sequestered carbon would go into long-term storage in wood products. )
This project has the economic benefits of providing free training in a fast growing job field to low-income students. The restoration aspect of the trees proactively avoids fines and precludes expensive pollution cleanup and prevention measures. Beautification of the site makes it a more attractive destination as an event center. The sustainable harvest of the trees could provide an income for the school. Finally, some of the trees used in this project were purchased from the Growing Grounds Nursery which employs and trains the mentally and physically challenged.