September 28, 2008

Bonelli Park Gets 30 New Trees

By Liset Mrquez

SAN DIMAS - There are hundreds of roots in the ground at Frank G. Bonelli Regional Park, and on Saturday more than 20 volunteers were busy leaving their own mark.

The volunteers were participating in National Public Lands Day at the park, where 30 trees were planted.

The event was a collaboration with Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation, said David Jallo, regional park superintendent.

The trees were planted in the area referred to as "Picnic Valley," in the southwest part of the park adjacent to the swim beach.

"It's all about ownership," Jallo said. "The public has a chance to do something for the park that will go a long ways."

As the event got under way, Jallo gathered the volunteers for a Tree Planting 101 session. After offering some basic tips, Jallo gave the volunteers free range.

For the next two hours, volunteers picked one of the 30 pre-dug holes and began planting the trees.

Among them was the Davidson family from Whittier who, in under an hour, were able to plant four trees.

Claudia and her husband, Blaine, brought their sons, Jared Barba, 12, and Tyler, 3, and daughter Hannah, 10, all of whom were keeping busy helping pack dirt on top of the newly planted trees.

"They are actually enjoying it," Claudia said. "We thought it would be a good experience for them and hopefully they will share it with their friends."

Blaine hopes they also learn about helping the environment.

The locations for the 30 trees were strategically placed, Jallo said.

When fully grown, the trees will be 20 to 25 feet tall and cast a nice shade over the picnic tables, he said.

The native trees like buckeye and oak that were planted Saturday are drought-tolerant and will also provide a little more diversity to the pine trees already in place, Jallo said.

He added those additions will also help restore the native wildlife habitat.

"These native plants will provide seeds and nectar for birds. This is helping the wildlife and at the same time the patrons will get some shade," Jallo said.

Aside from the trees, volunteers also helped spruce up the hillside by adding 50 native plants.

It might be years before the trees mature but Ashley Contreras said she is anxious to see what they will look like.

The Glendora resident, who was wearing a white tank top with the words "I love tofu," is a frequent visitor to the park.

Contreras said she had been looking for an event to be able to help the environment.

"I like that I'm being a little more green and making it a better place for families in the future," she said.

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