Laguna Beach honored again by Arbor Day Foundation, hosts youth art contest

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The pepper tree at Laguna Beach City Hall. Photo by Jody Tiongco

For a third straight year, Laguna Beach was recognized as a Tree City USA Community by the Arbor Day Foundation.

“Maintaining our Tree City USA status demonstrates that the City of Laguna Beach values our urban forest, and recognizes the benefits that trees impart to all residents and visitors,” Mayor Bob Whalen said. “It affirms the City’s commitment to caring for the trees that line our streets, span our parks, and constitute our open space.”

To earn the Tree City USA recognition, the City met standards for sound urban forestry management: maintaining a tree board or department/division responsible for tree care, having a community tree ordinance, spending at least $2 per capita on urban forestry, and officially recognizing Arbor Day.

The Tree City USA program is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters. More than 3,400 communities across the United States have made the commitment to becoming a Tree City USA.

Laguna Beach will celebrate its 2020 Tree City USA designation at a virtual Arbor Day celebration at 3 p.m. on, April 30 at Top of the World Park. You can watch the Arbor Day celebration and tree planting live on the city Facebook page at facebook.com/lagunabeachgov.

Ruben Flores, a 25-year resident and local tree advocate, congratulated city staff on making these strides to be a Tree City Community.

“I appreciate the small steps the city has taken to improve the maintenance and care for trees,” Flores said. “I think we have huge strides to go. Unfortunately, what the city often considers progress is the minimum for tree care. Whereas the city might cut down fewer trees and they may plant 20 in a year, other cities’ sophistication of preserving and reclaiming trees is a wonderful goal.”

This year, the City also launched its Arbor Day Youth Art Contest. This art contest is open to all Laguna Beach Unified School District students. Entries should be a poem, drawing, painting, or picture on the theme of “what trees mean to me.” Any medium is accepted but the size should be no larger than 8.5 inches by 11 inches and dropped off at the City Hall check-in area by April 26. One winner will be chosen from the elementary, middle, and high school levels. Winning entries will be announced at the virtual Arbor Day celebration and displayed at Laguna Beach City Hall.

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