The volunteer-run group that has been greening the city of Richmond one tree at a time since 2011 was recently recognized for its efforts by the California Urban Forests Council.
Lee Micheaux and the nonprofit she co-founded in 2011, Richmond Trees, won awards at the council’s 49th annual “Life Among the Leaves” conference in San Rafael from Aug. 23-24.
Micheaux won the Every Day Hero Award, while Richmond Trees, which gathers volunteers to plant and care for trees throughout the city, won the S.O.S. “Save Our Shade” award.
The latter award did not focus on Richmond Trees’ success in summoning community volunteers for the purpose of planting hundreds of trees aimed at improving quality of life in Richmond. Rather, the Save Our Shade award served perhaps the more important purpose of recognizing creative solutions in caring for planted trees.
Richmond Trees organizes an event on the third Sunday of each month where volunteers gather to care for young street trees that have been planted in the past three years. This includes tasks such as weeding, mulching and watering.
During summer, community volunteers track trees to ensure they receive regular attention and watering, and the most vulnerable are watered with slow-release watering bags.
“A trained arborist also volunteers time to assist with structural pruning, which is critical in establishing a dominant trunk and reducing tree failure as a result of defects in structure and weight distribution after the tree reaches maturity,” according to Richmond Trees.
A main ingredient to the organization’s success has been Lee Micheaux, a working mother who has dedicated hundreds of evening and weekend hours to improving the Richmond community. Micheaux is also chair of the City of Richmond’s Urban Forest Advisory Committee.
Richmond Trees regularly partners with other local environmental groups to achieve its purposes. On Oct. 21, the organization will hold its first event of the planting season at the annual Arbor Day at Unity Park on the Richmond Greenway, a partnership with Groundwork Richmond and the City of Richmond.