The arrival of over 270 trees to a vacant parking lot in the City of South El Monte was a welcome sight on a recent chilly morning.
There, Southern California Edison (SCE) President Ron Litzinger, Luis Aguinaga, the mayor of South El Monte, and city workers unloaded a truck filled with 15-gallon trees donated by SCE to the city to help restore parks, neighborhoods and communities impacted by the 2011 windstorm.
“It’s great to get out early in the morning to help the mayor and his crew unload the trees,” said Litzinger. “And it’s part of Edison’s long-standing commitment to the environment. As everyone knows, trees help absorb greenhouse gases, and to re-beautify and help the communities recover following the windstorm.”
Since mid-November, trucks have been making tree deliveries to San Gabriel Valley cities affected by the storm which toppled trees, damaged property and left many residents without electricity.
“We have a saying. When one tree comes down, two trees go up,” said Aguinaga, surveying the plants. In the past few years, he said, more than 1,000 trees have been planted in South El Monte as part of the city’s beautification program.
That number will now increase with SCE’s donation, which the city has plans for already.
“There are already homes for all these trees,” said Aguinaga, who also noted that residents whose communities were hit hard by the windstorm are anxiously awaiting tree plantings scheduled in January 2014.
As part of the commitment to San Gabriel Valley’s windstorm recovery, SCE and its parent company Edison International have pledged a total of 10,000 trees that will be delivered over the next two years to 34 impacted cities in the San Gabriel Valley.
Additional trees will be made available to other SCE served cities outside that area.
Between 10 and 15 cities in the San Gabriel Valley with the greatest need for trees chose species from a list of available trees grown at SCE’s Auberry Tree Farm near Shaver Lake. Staff at the tree farm worked with each city to assist them in getting the desired trees.
The tree farm boasts over 50 species that are cultivated and planted as seedlings. And through its urban forest TreeScape Community Partnership Program, SCE is involved with local government partners in its service areas.
“It’s pretty gratifying to plant the seeds, grow the trees for a year or two to a larger size, and send them to company projects,” said Terry Sandridge, supervisor of the tree farm. “We need to be a part of beautifying Edison territory.”
The year-round charitable-giving program is funded entirely by Edison International shareholders and not ratepayers.