Stockton spreading love with trees to reforest city

Two workers with the Greater Valley Conservation Corp plant trees at the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds in Stockton.
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In a corner of the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds along Dr. Martin Luther King Blvd, Rory Storrs is taking pride in planting one tree at a time.

"It's a great feeling. I can drive my kids around the town and pull them over and show them how I am helping out the community and beautifying the city of Stockton to make it a better place to live," says Storrs.

Storrs is part of the Greater Valley Conservation Corp through the San Joaquin Office of Education.

His group is contracted with the Stockton non-profit PUENTES as part of a three-year effort to plant over 1,200 trees throughout the city.

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"We need more trees to reduce the heat islands that we have. We have impoverished areas. We have high heat areas because of the pavement or lack of a tree," says PUENTES Urban Forestry Coordinator Javier Gardea.

About a dozen varieties of trees are being planted around the city. 

Some are native Valley Oak trees, while other trees will produce shade and are drought and pollution tolerant.

The funding for the effort includes a $650,000 grant from CAL FIRE and a $50,000 grant from the non-profit RELIEF.

"So improving our urban forestry canopy will benefit the community. It will make it a more beautiful place to live and just cool down the walkways and cool down the schools," says Gardea.

11 schools will also benefit from the tree planting, including Taft Elementary the recipient of a pair of trees.

6th grader Beto Avila sees the benefits of new trees in the front of his school.

“When it’s really sunny and it’s really hot, like maybe it will cover all the sun so we can get shade," says Avila.

Bottom line, hundreds of more trees are ready to beautify the city.

It’s something we can all “root” for.

"So improving our urban forestry canopy will benefit the community. It will make it a more beautiful place to live and just cool down the walkways and cool down the schools," says Gardea.