Community members combat climate change

Nancy O’Rode, Christy Weir and Barbara Brown, founding members of Ventura Tree Alliance, assist at a Restore Earth Day event.

With all the bad news about climate change… the increasingly high temperatures of summer and the rise in the number of windy days, a handful of community members in Ventura are stepping up to do what they can to make a difference.

The idea germinated when two candidates running for City Council tried to place their political signs in Ventura’s tree wells and found there was a surprisingly high number of empty wells; the trees had died or been removed and had never been replaced. As it turns out, there are over 12,000 empty tree wells in Ventura. Co-founders Christy Weir and Barbara Brown wanted to do something about that. Thus the genesis of the Ventura Tree Alliance (VTA), a nonprofit public-benefit corporation bringing community members, educators, and business professionals together to enhance the urban tree canopy in Ventura.

“We’re interested in planting trees to add to our urban forest, beautifying the city and counteracting climate change. We hope to inspire, engage, and support Venturans in planting and caring for trees through education, volunteerism, partnerships and fundraising,” states Ms. Weir, former City Councilmember. “We’re making this announcement in honor of Arbor Day, with the expectation that tree-plantings will take place this spring and summer.”

“Our goal is to plant trees in the abandoned wells, in city parks and in parking lots, creating shade and wind breaks on hot days, sequestering carbon emissions and augmenting wildlife habitat,” says Barbara Brown, co-founder. “In addition, trees capture rainwater and reduce run off. They add to the aesthetic benefits in neighborhood pride often with increased property values. Large cities all over the world are addressing this opportunity including Denver, Los Angeles, New York and Shanghai with their “One Million Trees” initiatives but as a smaller community, we need to address this as well.

”Board member and educator Nancy O’Rode states that according to Ventura’s Tree Master Plan, “Street trees are among the most valuable community assets, reducing pollution by recycling air and water; and by cooling streets helping to maintain asphalt for longer periods of time. In addition, trees lower temperature in the shade about 10 degrees. Because of the availability of recycled water, it’s more feasible to maintain trees without using Ventura’s constrained potable water supply.”

“Few improvements are a better expenditure of resources and give greater satisfaction to community life than planting and maintaining the “right tree in the right place”. A healthy urban forest enhances the quality of life for all Venturans,” adds Ms. Weir.

To volunteer or for more information about the Ventura Tree Alliance, check out our Facebook page or our website at

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