While times may be hard, hard work has paid off for Ojai Trees. The grassroots group of Ojai residents wanted to do something positive for the community and the environment. Two years ago, led by Tom Bostrom, they founded Ojai Trees. Since then they have planted over 357 new trees and logged over 1,500 volunteer hours through their Neighborhood Tree program.

Members of Team B welcome and name one of Manwa Azzam's fruit tree

“This year we’re branching out into street trees.” said Bostrom, President of the Ojai Trees Board of Directors. “We’ve been awarded two grants to plant 25 new street trees in Ojai”. Bostrom was excited to announce the grants of $1000 from the Rotary Club of Ojai and $2000 from the City of Ojai Tree Fund at the October board meeting. “Ojai Trees has also received donations of $200 from the Ojai Music Festival to offset their carbon footprint, and a $100 donation from the Ojai Valley Retired Men’s Club which will go to support these tree plantings”.

Established in 2008, the nonprofit organization is dedicated to improving the Ojai Valley tree canopy by planting new trees. It has implemented a Neighborhood Forester program to assist residents in planting trees on their own property throughout the Valley. Neighborhood Foresters circulate through their own local neighborhoods, contacting residents who want to plant a fruit or shade tree. A tree expert is available to assist in the selection of “the right tree for the right place”.

Trees are then planted by teams of volunteers that gather for a morning “planting event” which is followed by one of Ojai Trees signature “yummy snack lunches”. Each team of volunteers is supervised by a trained Planting Supervisor. This fall, planting events are scheduled for November 20 and December 11.

The organization has applied for another $4,900 in grants from the State’s California ReLeaf program.

“We were able to use the first two grants as matching funds” said Bostrom, who expects to hear from the State by early November. “If we get that grant we can double the number of trees we can plant.”

It’s nice to know hard work can still pay off, even if you don’t get paid.

To find out more about what trees can do for the environment or what you can do for trees go to www.ojaitrees.org


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