Richmond High School Urban Forestry Interns Complete ’15-’16 Internship


The EarthTeam Richmond High School Urban Forestry Interns recently celebrated their final meeting of the internship, completing a year of trees, dirt, and mulch. Interns spent much of the year learning dendrology and training as an arborist. How does a healthy tree grow? Where should you plant a tree? How do you plant a tree? And why should you plant a tree? Students were immersed in experiences that sought to answer all these questions. They spoke with experts like UC Berkeley Forestry Professor Joe McBride. They planned a demonstration forest in the City of San Pablo’s Wanlass Park. They also planted lots and lots of trees.

95 young trees, in total, now grow in the cities of Richmond, San Pablo, and El Cerrito, because of the hard work of the interns. Through their effort planting trees they even managed to break a few city records. At Wanlass Park in San Pablo they set the record for most volunteers at an event, and the record for most trees planted in one day. (They set the record with 20 trees.)

“Wanlass Park was my favorite event because it pushed me out of my comfort zone, having to lead strangers.”Enrique Alegria

The interns would later also tie their record for most trees planted at Davis Park in San Pablo.

The East Bay is a little greener thanks to this year’s Urban Forestry Interns who together planted more than 90 trees over the course of the internship.

During their learning experiences, students learned many things about trees and how they are managed in the city. In one project they learned how to discern harmful tree pathogens and diseases.

“I learned about how trees are like human beings with health issues.” Brian Alvarez

The interns even had a chance to educate the City of San Pablo’s City Council about the presence of a fatal tree disease, bright blight, in some trees along San Pablo Avenue.

Interns presenting their findings regarding fire blight in San Pablo.

When the interns were asked to reflect on their work during the year and why it was important, some students saw the value of the impact they made and the skills they learned.

“I felt like I was a part of something more than just planting a tree in the ground, but part of a revolution. We as a community are developing skills to improve our society and ourselves.”Sara Gordian

“Some of the skills that I learned was that begin organized is very important. In the future I’ll use this skill to help me organize whenever I ever host an event and have everything in order so that things won’t get chaotic.”Perla Luna

“I learned leadership skills and public speaking skills. I learned how to be a leader with my group.”Fernanda Martinez

Students also considered why other students should join EarthTeam in the future. Student’s suggested that the program provided valuable experiences and one student recognized their new appreciation for the outdoors.

“I learned to enjoy nature. Something I never did before.”Shaneen Britton

“They should join because it is a great program. They will gain lots of experience and skills for the future. The students and staff are amazing! This program is worth giving up every Monday and every other Saturday.”Itzel Gonzales

Thank you to all the student intern, partners, and volunteers that helped make this year’s urban forestry internship a success! Next year’s students will have the opportunity to plant more trees in new territory for EarthTeam, including El Sobrante. Students will also get a chance to help expand the demonstration forest at Wanlass Park in San Pablo. We look forward to the new interns urban greening efforts.


Interns Record Important Tree Data at Wanlass Park

EarthTeam Wanlass Park City Of San Pablo
EarthTeam Interns taking GPS coordinates of a tree they planted months earlier in Wanlass Park

On May 9th, EarthTeam Interns returned to Wanlass Park in San Pablo to monitor the 20 trees they planted earlier in February this year. The trees were still standing, except for one, which unfortunately had died. Still, the students, were excited to see their trees that were now sporting new green leaves.

Interns also saw for the first time the new drip irrigation system and sign describing the intern’s tree planting project, both of which had been installed by the City of San Pablo shorty after the trees were planted.

EarthTeam Wanlass Park City of San Pablo
A new sign features information about the tree planted in Wanlass Park and photos of the Interns that planted them.

While visiting their trees, interns collected DBH (diameter at breast height) measurements. This data reveals the thickness of the tree trunk, and is used to measure tree growth over time. The students also collected GPS coordinates to accurately mark the location of each tree. This data will be important for tracking the future health, growth, and benefits the tree provide.

Interns Report On Fatal Tree Disease to San Pablo City Council

EarthTeam San Pablo City Council
Interns presented to San Pablo City Council about the presence of fire blight in San Pablo

On May 2nd, Interns provided a report and presentation to the San Pablo City Council about their EarthTeam Urban Forestry Internship and their project diagnosing the tree disease fire blight.

Fire blight is a fatal tree disease that has no cure, and while it can be managed by tactical pruning of the infected areas in the tree canopy, it will eventually kill the tree. Students provided an overview of the disease to council members, along with the susceptible tree species, how to identify infected trees, and a map marking the location of diseased trees along of stretch of San Pablo Avenue.

Interns report on the tree species affect by fire blight and the consequences of losing street trees in the City.

The City Council thanked the students bringing the issue before them, and will decide how to manage the trees at a later date. They also recognized the students for their work planting trees in the San Pablo park’s Wanlass Park and Davis Park.

Interns Finish Planting Season Strong, 2 Events and 39 Trees

Interns celebrated Arbor Day by planting 12 trees in El Cerrito.

The tree planting season in California goes quick, lasting only a little more than half the year. In the last month of the spring planting season, Interns finished the school year strong by participating in two EarthTeam planting events and planting 39 trees.

On April 16th, Interns joined City of San Pablo Staff and volunteers from The Watershed Project at Davis Park to plant 20 trees. The trees were planted along a stretch of Wildcat Creek that runs through the park. Mike Wood, an environmental consultant fro the City of San Pablo, selected the riparian species Box Elder (Acer negundo), and Cottonwood (Populus fremontii) for the planting.

EarthTeam Tree Planting Davis Park San Pablo
Interns, volunteers, and city staff, worked hard as the sun rose, turning a cool morning into a hot day at Davis Park, San Pablo.

On April 30th, Interns celebrated Arbor Day by planting 12 trees in El Cerrito at the Sunset View Cemetery and neighboring private lot, which is often used by the public as a park. This planting was the Interns’ final tree planting event for their program. Each student demonstrated a high level of ability to plant according to tree planting standards set by the Intentional Society of Arboriculture. The students will end their internship having planted a total of 95 trees in multiple cities across the East Bay.

Interns with Sunset View Staff during the final tree planting event of the internship.

Urban Forestry Interns Reflect On Their Contributions To Their Communities

blog april

“Planting at Wanlass felt like doing an actual physical contribution to my community and environment. 50 years from now Wanlass will be full of dense canopy trees that give shade and homes to many birds. A place where kids can go and play and run. These trees definitely will increase the birds in the park. Urban Forestry Internship has taught me that a community has many factors by which it is affected by trees. Including the positive impacts a single tree has in a community.” Shaneen Britton

“Planting at Wanlass makes me feel proud of myself for making a difference in our community. In 50 years I picture Wanlass really nice and green with lots of trees. By the trees we have planted we would attract many birds and other wildlife. Today I feel much more closer and confident towards my teammates ever since we had our first meeting.”- Perla Santana

“I feel good about our planting at Wanlass Park. 50 years from now I imagine Wanlass park being healthy and green. The wildlife that we brought to Wanlass is like squirrels, birds and insects. I feel confident talking about urban forestry now then how I did when we had our first meeting.”- Joanna Gudino

“I felt great because I felt like I was making a difference in my community. I picture Wanlass to be a beautiful place for future generations to be in. I believe there will be a lot of squirrels, butterflies and birds! I feel more comfortable than the first meeting we had. I feel like I can be myself, and I feel like I can talk to people I didn’t know.”- Fernanda Martinez

EarthTeam Interns to Bring Demonstration Forest to Their Community

blog picture 1.12

EarthTeam interns at Richmond High School start 2016 with their most ambitious project of the school year. Students have decided to design and plant a demonstration forest at Wanless Park. Our young leaders are working hard to not only design the area but plan a community planting day for their city. Here are some student perspectives of their project:

“Wanless Park is a demonstration forest that Urban Forestry decided to design and plant on the site, assisted with other volunteers. The over all plan for Wanless Park is to make it into a demonstration forest and plant about 20 to 25 trees. My group is in charge of the design of the park and where everything will go. The most exciting thing about our plans is that we got to design how it will look and both our plans are amazing. My personal contribution to the plan was drawing the plans as well as helping where and what trees will be used. Also decided how the paths would go. Our over all project at Wanless park will benefit out community by cleaning the air, having a space to feel happy and relax, and attract wildlife.”- Itzel Gonzalez

“Wanless Park is a new park located in San Pablo. The over all plan Wanless Park is to transform it into a new spot for anyone to enjoy. My group is in charge of educating the neighborhood on urban forestry by knocking on residents doors and offering them a tree for their home. What I think is cool about this plan is that I get to step out my comfort  zone and communicate with others living in my city. My personal contribution was making flyers for people to read on who we are, what we are up to as interns, and what we would like for this community. Our over all project will make the city of San Pablo  a much more positive environment for people to enjoy for many many years.”- Fernanda Martinez

“Wanless Park is a community park in which we’re currently planning for our future field day. The plan for this park is so that we would mimic a forest in which we could demonstrate how a forest would look life. So far my team is working on a presentation in which we would present to the city of San Pablo. The plan is working out fine, we are making the presentation flashy with professionalism. By the end of this project we are going to show our community how well we can work together in order to show how it will help our environment”- Brian Alvarez

“Wanless park is the area we are currently working on. We as a group plan to create a demonstration forest to show the benefits of urban forestry. My group that I am in is in charge of informational sign design. The whole designing and seeing our design see the light of day is cool. I’m in the engineering academy, so I know a thing or two about designing. It’s going to improve the community socially and most importantly the air quality and wildlife”- Enrique Alegria



UC Berkeley Professor Teaches Interns Tree Identification

mcbride blog 1

This week EarthTeam interns got a surprise visit from Dr. Joe McBride, former UC Berkeley Forest Ecology Professor and EarthTeam Board Member. Dr. Mcbride has been working behind the scenes with EarthTeam staff to bring the Urban Forestry program to life. This week though Joe took to the field, taking students on a walking tree tour of their campus and surrounding neighborhoods to learn how to identify local tree species. Below are students’ reflections on their time with Dr. McBride.

“On December 14th, 2015 in our Urban Forestry meeting a high level professor, Dr Mcbride, came in and took use on a tree walk in Richmond’s streets to identify trees. Two things we did was identify if the tree was conifer, broadleaf, or palm and identified it’s key characteristics. One thing I learned was how to identify a tree using key characteristics. Some of the trees we identified around our neighborhood were Mulberry, Sweetgum, Strawberry tree, Chinese Elm, and more. One thing I’ll always remember is the taste of the “fruit” on the strawberry tree!”- Fabiola Guerrero

“My experience with Dr. Joe McBride was really interesting. Tracking down our trees and using their leaves as a part of our group activity was new to me. It a very clever way to learn our tree names, our group activity was also lots of fun. I learn which trees grow which leaves which is going to help me at future events. One take away was the generosity Dr. Joe McBride had for us. He brought us chocolate covered raisins!” – Luis Gonzalez 


“On Monday the 14th of December, we had a guest speaker come to our group & teach. Our guest speaker was Dr. Joe McBride and he helped teach us to identify trees by their characteristics. One thing I did was play a card game which helped me remember these trees through their leaves. A thing that I learned was that there are different types of palm trees. I am excited to use this new skill of tree identifying elsewhere.”- Edwin Hernandez

EarthTeam Interns’ First Solo Planting!

san pablo blog 1

This Saturday EarthTeam interns had their first solo planting. These young leaders designed the green spaces and selected the tree species for the city. Once the city approved their plans they set out to make them a reality- planting six trees in total to increase the tree density in the city of San Pablo. Below are some student reflection on our Saturday together:

“On December 13th we planted six trees, three on 14th and Broadway and three on 17th and Broadway. This was a big project for me because it was the first time planting trees and seeing the before and after which was very satisfying at the end. I had fun digging the holes for the trees and working with my group because everyone was excited to participate and work. I learned how to use the stake pounder even though it was difficult to reach but I managed and my group was proud. One main obstacle was seeing the other team mates struggle with the bedrock. I am really excited for the next event and in the future will tell my kids ‘I did this'”- Diana Rodriguez

“This past Saturday on December 12th, my group and I planted on 14th and Broadway as well as 17th and Broadway. On 14th and Broadway we planted 3 trees and on 17th and Broadway we also planted 3 trees. One thing I did was hammer the nails onto the crossbows and dug the hole with my group. One thing I learned was how to plant trees the right way and staking. An obstacle my team and I faced was bedrock, it really slowed us down. I am happy we were able to still finish and plant all the 6 trees. One thing I will always remember and take with me is that with teamwork and love for the environment we were able to plant all the trees and acknowledge the beauty of the trees on our sites. I am excited to keep planting trees and learning more about them”- Itzel Gonzalez

“On December 12th, 2015 we went out to 14th, 17th and Broadway. We planted 6 trees and staked. One thing I learned was how to tie arbor ties on the three major crotches of the tree. An obstacle that we had was on 14th and Broadway we had to dig through bedrock. I am excited to see how the trees turn out over the years”- Joanna Gudino 

When Projects Become a Reality!


EarthTeam’s Urban Forestry Intern’s projects are coming to life in the city of San Pablo this semester. After weeks of research at two separate siteS off campus these students collected data on wind velocity, soil quality, sun exposure, site uses and mapping. Our interns then created Forestry plans for the sites and submitted them to the city for approval. Students decided where, how many trees and what species would best fit the two green spaces not too far from campus. The city of San Pablo has approved the  the intern’s plans! Now it’s time to make those ideas a reality. Recently students went to their sites to stake and 811 their tree locations. Energies were high this week as students learned that they will soon be transforming these locations for their community. Next step? Our first student-led planting on December 6th to put our trees in the ground.