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

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

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.

Firebrand Media LLC wants comments that advance the discussion, and we need your help to accomplish this mission. Debate and disagreement are welcomed on our platforms but do it with respect. We won't censor comments we disagree with. Viewpoints from across the political spectrum are welcome here. While everyone is entitled to their opinion, our community is not obliged to host all comments shared on its website or social media pages, including:

  • Hate speech that is racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic slurs, or calls for violence against a particular type of person.
  • Obscenity and excessive cursing.
  • Libelous language, whether or not the writer knows what they're saying is false.
We require users to provide their true full name, including first and last names, as a condition for comments. We reserve the right to change this policy based on future developments.

Scroll down to comment on this post.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here