On March 16, the Urban Releaf crew teamed with about 75 volunteers from Americorps to plant 10 live oak trees at a location on 85th Avenue and San Leandro St., a heavily-vehicle-trafficked, industrial area which is also adjacent to a BART line and railroad tracks, which is almost practically bereft of a tree canopy. In addition to the tree-planting, Urban Releaf also removed a huge tree stump from a tree well.
The benefits to the neighborhood will be many; besides aesthetic value and a psychological sense of well-being, the trees should help ease the environmental health issues the neighborhood faces; as a 2010 Communities for a Better Environment study revealed, E. Oakland’s childhood asthma rate is 150-200% higher than that of Alameda County overall.
“That’s an area with known issues of air quality. It’s a major heat island. East Oakland is a very underserved community historically, in terms of resources which address the impact on the environment,” said Urban Releaf founder and Executive Director Kemba Shakur. “So we’re happy to do something for the neighborhood which actually addresses these issues.
“We hope to do more East Oakland projects in the future. We want to continue to collaborate and work with local groups, city officials, and community members,” Shakur added.