California is facing one of the most severe droughts on record. An estimated 22 million trees have died statewide within the last four years.

Our very own Balboa Park is no stranger to the drought’s ill-effects. The Park has lost about 10 percent of its trees due to the drought and infestation of bark beetles.

That’s why dozens of San Diegans gathered at Balboa Park in November with shovels in hand.

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Volunteers dug in to help plant 100 new California-friendly trees near the 6th Avenue playground thanks to a $50,000 grant from The San Diego Foundation to the Balboa Park Conservancy, to commemorate The Foundation 40th anniversary and the Park centennial.

“If we’re losing any of our trees, any of our nature, we need to do something,” said Jordan White, one of the volunteers at the Park on November 3.

“The San Diego Foundation recognizes the importance of open space and places for people to gather,” said Emily Young, The Foundation Vice President of Community Impact. “It’s vital to our quality of life in the region. We’re really excited to make this investment in San Diego for our children and future generations.”

Diversifying Balboa Park

Although San Diego is home to many indigenous, native tree species like Torrey pines, the tree-planting event was not only meant to beautify the Park, but diversify it.

“We’re planting a lot of different species like Araucarias and other things that are not native to San Diego County, but are native to drought areas and areas that get similar rain amounts that we have,” said San Diego Park and Recreation Ranger Casey Smith.

Park officials hope to plant 100 trees per year to help keep the park a vibrant and green destination, and to maintain one of San Diego’s most beautiful and beloved gathering places.

Balboa Park tree planting

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Thanks to the foresight of visionary and generous San Diegans, the Balboa Park family of endowment funds at The San Diego Foundation has granted more than $2 million to preserve, protect and enhance the Park.

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