Residents plant 375 trees, shrubs in community

By: Jon Brines, Placer Herald Correspondent
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An army of volunteers from around the community braved the rain Saturday to dig, mulch and plant trees around Rocklin.
The third annual Community Service Day saw its biggest turnout to date with 190 volunteers planting more than 375 trees and shrubs in four city parks and the new library under construction at Rocklin Road and Granite Drive.
Rock Creek Elementary teacher Chris Anderson has lived in Rocklin for 30 years and has taken an active role inspiring her school children to give back.
“I want my students to be good citizens,” Anderson said. “We’re adopting Sonora Park to pick up trash and keep it clean.”
She helped plant maple and redwood trees in Sonora Park right next to the school with her fellow student 9-year-old McKinna Macias.
“It feels good planting trees,” Macias said.
Macias said she especially wanted to volunteer Saturday to give back to the community after the tragic fire at the Roseville Galleria inspired her to do good.
“That was pretty nasty over there,” Macias said. “We’re trying to make things better.”
Her father Chris Macias provided the muscle moving rocks for planting. He was inspired by past community service days to organize more than a dozen neighbors to clean-up the Rocklin wetland near his neighborhood every Martin Luther King Day.
“It’s important to find a way to help out,” Chris Macias said.
City crews prepared the soil with an auger before the volunteers came, but much of the action was done with a little sweat equity.
“It allowed us to take out the dirt,” Chris Macias said. “We put the tree upright, put some dirt and fertilizer in there and we’re good to go.”
At Johnson-Springview Park, more than 20 soldiers from Roseville’s National Guard were also on hand to move earth and collect acorns.
“Our title is citizen soldier so we wanted to come out here and show the people that we’re here to help out,” Sgt. Songwon Losasso said.
They helped collect hundreds of acorns from the base of the hundred-year-old oak trees that will be germinated over the winter and spring by local school children and one day be planted in Rocklin parks and open spaces.
Rocklin Boy Scout Troop 29 joined more than 30 students from Rocklin High School to spread mulch and break up the soil around the oaks in an effort to recondition the soil after decades of packed soil from the park’s cattle ranch days.
“We’re trying to disrupt the soil so it’s not all packed in and the roots can breath,” Star Scout Austin Leverenz said. “They can grow bigger because they can expand and get more nutrients.”
The event also qualifies the city for consideration as a Tree City USA city designation.
For Rocklin High School senior Juliet Bennett, it’s about preserving Rocklin’s heritage.
“Oak trees are really characteristic of Rocklin. They are everywhere,” Bennett said.
When Sophomore Charisse Palaad looks up at the 100-year-old trees, she sees the future as well as the past.
“The tree has been through everything that Rocklin’s been through. It’s grown with Rocklin,” Palaad said. “If we preserve it, the tree will be here for future generations.”
Funding and materials were raised by sponsors like Omni-Means, the Rocklin Friends of the Library, Recology, PG&E, United Natural Foods, and Teichert Construction. Volunteer groups participating in the projects including Rocklin and Whitney High School students, Rotary clubs and various churches and scouting groups.
Assistant City Manager Mark Riemer is already looking ahead to next year’s event.
“This event is a prime example on how our citizens, organizations, schools, and sponsors give back to their community,” Riemer said. “And how parents and Scout leaders teach our youth the value of volunteerism.”

For more photos: Picking up and planting anew