Frances Wright and Dan and Betty Wells from the Pacifica Garden Club

Frances Wright and Dan and Betty Wells from the Pacifica Garden Club dedicated four cherry trees, a park bench and a sign that formed a COVID Memorial Grove, honoring all those whose lives were lost to the pandemic. Wright and Dan Wells are seen here.

Photo courtesy Paul Totah

Volunteers and students in Pacifica planted 40 trees as part of the city’s annual Arbor Day celebration, helping to expand Pacifica’s tree canopy, fight climate change, enhance property values and add beauty to the city’s parks and schools.

Organized by Tree City Pacifica, a citizens group founded in 2019, Arbor Day events began in October when students in the Pacifica School District submitted drawings of their favorite trees for an art contest. The 18 winners had their work displayed at Sanchez Art Center for two weekends, ending Nov. 14.

On Nov. 12, students at all but one of the district’s schools planted a total of 10 trees in their schoolyards thanks to support from Pacifica School District Superintendent Heather Olsen, Sunset Ridge School Principal Ellie Cundiff and Chief Business Official Josie Peterson.

The following day, more than 70 volunteers planted another 30 trees in Fairmont Park and Recreation Center and in the front yards of nearby residents. 

Pacifica Mayor Sue Beckmeyer thanked the many volunteers and support staff, including Sanchez Art Center Director Cindy Abbott, the Pacifica Garden Club, members of the city’s Beautification Committee, the various Scout troops taking part, members of the Public Works team including Director Lisa Peterson and Deputy Director Sam Bautista, the Fairmont Subdivision Improvement Association and city council members who were present, including Mayor Pro Tem Mary Bier, Tygerjas Bigstick and Sue Vaterlaus.

Frances Wright and Dan and Betty Wells from the Pacifica Garden Club then dedicated cherry trees, a park bench and a sign that formed a COVID Memorial Grove that was funded, in part, by a Plant America Grant from the National Garden Clubs Inc.

Tree City Pacifica’s Sandy Ayers led a planting demonstration before teams of volunteers spread out through the park and the neighborhood to plant trees provided by the city.

Tree City Pacifica volunteers Gail Benton Shoemaker, Susan Miller, Jeff Moroso, Kai Martin, Annie Crow, Marj Davis, Amy Andonian and Sandy Ayers helped organize events. Betty Duran of Parkview Circle rallied her neighbors along with John Sebastinelli and Katherine Johnson of the subdivision association.

Organizers also praised members of Public

Works, including Paul Lavorini, Ron Fascenda, Mike Pham and Harvey De La Cruz, who provided logistical support, green bags, mulch and much hard work to make Arbor Day a success.

By Paul Totah, Special to the Tribune

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