They Dig Harbor Arbor!

Jamie Rowe, Copy Editor

A community celebration drew more than 400 residents Saturday to commemorate Earth Day cleanups and beautification projects that planted more than 325 trees and shrubs in the Wrigley neighborhood.
The celebration took place at the Wrigley Greenbelt, the centerpiece of the cleanup and beautification project. Residents were treated to performances by local schoolchildren’s dance and musical groups, free tree seedlings, games, family activities, food, and refreshments.
“Through our Harbor Arbor program we are bringing trees and other plants into our neighborhoods,” Port Executive Director Richard D. Steinke said at the celebration. “This is your greenbelt. The greatest pride we can have as the Port of Long Beach is to come back every year and see how it has thrived.”
Eighty trees were planted Saturday and 300 seedlings were given to residents to plant at their homes, said Port Director of Communications and Community Relations Heather Morris
Throughout the year, members of the Wrigley Association’s Tree Committee organize efforts to maintain the old growth trees, and plant and maintain new ones so they can grow to be 20 feet or taller.
“The trees need to be more than 20 feet tall to be effective in cleaning the air and providing shade,” said Association President Alan Tolkoff.
According to Tolkoff, a host of volunteers provide the man power to keep the beautification projects going, including: Lee Fukui, who is part of both the Wrigley Tree Committee and the city of Long Beach Tree Committee; Wrigley Tree Committee member Muana Eichner; Wrigley Tree Committee member Lynette Ferenczy; Wrigley Tree Committee member Matthew Anderson; Wrigley Tree Committee member Shoshanah Siegle; wife and husband team Lisa Wibroe and Robert Benson; Kathy Parsons; Joan Greenwood; Nancy Risch; and Wrigley Greenbelt Committee Chairman Ken Gore.
“Without someone to dig the holes, plant the trees and care for them, all else is wasted,” Tolkoff said of simply donating supplies or money versus physically helping.
Los Angeles County invited the Port to participate in its May 3 Earth Day Celebration, according to Morris, the Harbor Arbor Day then became linked to the Earth Day celebrations to help enhances the Wrigley Greenbelt. The Port reached out to many community organizations, such as Long Beach Public Works, Long Beach Parks, Recreation and Marine and Long Beach Organic. LBO provided volunteers and LBPW will help maintain the growth in the future.
The Port and 7th District sponsored the event in partnership with the city of Long Beach Parks, Recreation and Marine and Public Works departments, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works, and LBO.
Under the Harbor Arbor tree-planting program, the Port has dedicated $2.5 million for neighborhood beautification projects. The Wrigley Greenbelt is the third “Harbor Arbor” project. The projects are designed to provide trees, shrubs and other sustainable landscaping to improve neighborhoods surrounding the 710 Freeway, one of the primary transportation corridors for goods movement at the Port. The city chooses which projects are viable, Morris said. Projects are taken on one at a time as they come up.
For more information about the Wrigley Tree Committee or to volunteer, contact Tolkoff at (562) 595-1111.

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