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    News/ Extended Photo Coverage

    Tree Planting & "Earth Day" Celebration @ Newcomb (K-8) Academy

    Newcomb tree planting April 21/07(April 22, 2007) -- Volunteers organized by the non-profit Newcomb Academy Foundation. assisted by the non-profit "Tree People," marked Earth Day weekend by shoveling dirt, spreading mulch and planting nearly forty trees next to the 605 freeway wall abutting the K-8 campus.

    Newcomb tree planting April 21/07Volunteers in all ages (kids to middle age and beyond) showed up between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 21 to help create a living, green buffer for the school's playground.

    Newcomb Principal Elizabeth Flynn (center in blue) joined 5th district Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske (on mike) and 7th district Councilwoman Tonia Reyes Uranga in thanking the volunteers.
    Newcomb tree planting April 21/07
    Photo credit: Eileen Shipman

    Newcomb tree planting April 21/07
    Photo credit: Eileen Shipman
    Rachel Dawson of the Beverly Hills/L.A. based TreePeople organization taught volunteers the proper techniques for digging and planting.

    Newcomb tree planting April 21/07Then it was time to put the lessons to work.

    Newcomb tree planting April 21/07Some trees required multiple volunteers.

    Newcomb tree planting April 21/07These volunteers moved mulch (wood shavings, tree twigs and the like) from a big pile into little buckets.

    Newcomb tree planting April 21/07There was plenty of work to go around.

    Newcomb tree planting April 21/07Maneuvering up the slope was a challenge. 39 trees were planted along the freeway wall.

    Newcomb tree planting April 21/07Taiko drummers provided musical inspiration.

    The beat goes on.

    Newcomb tree planting April 20/07A day earlier on Friday April 20, Newcomb students defied some rain to plant eight additional trees in other parts of the campus. Some trees are visible near the school entrance at 3351 Val Verde Ave.

    The net result: 47 new drought-resistant, water-conserving evironmental instruction for the students.

    In a post-event release, the Newcomb Academy Foundation said:

    The school hasn’t had a major facelift since it was built over 40 years ago. [The tree planting] activities were part of a larger plan to give the school a new look over the next few years with improvements to the landscaping and physical layout of the school.

    In addition to the aesthetic value of the trees, they will also serve to make the campus a healthier place. Acting as a green buffer between the playground and the 605 freeway, the trees will decrease the pollution and noise on campus.

    There were several groups that came together to make this event possible. There were representatives from the faculty and staff of Newcomb, TreePeople, the Newcomb Academy Foundation, the PTSA, the El Dorado Park Homeowners Association, and leading community members.

    The group hoped to obtain enough grant support to run this project with no out of pocket expenses. This proved to be too optimistic, and we are very grateful for the generous cash donations from Jim Kruger, Shirley Saltman, Juan Salcedo, and John Case that allowed us to cover the out of pocket expenses. We are also grateful for the support of parents and local businesses to cover other needs such as food and beverage costs for the event.

    Many people were involved in making this event a success including Margrette Francisco and Marty Chiu who were initial organizers; Michael Lombardi who developed the Master Plan for the future look of Newcomb Academy; Rachael Dawson of TreePeople who guided both the educational and logistical aspects of planting the trees and making that an important experience for the children; Loyd Wilcox and Tony DeSmet who coordinated the efforts of all involved; Beth Flynn, Karen Silver, and Lynn Shelly who represented the faculty and staff of Newcomb; Terri Rios who reached out for donations; Shelly Hamagashi and Andy Oshrin who helped publicize the event; the Long Beach Fire Department that came out to grill the hot dogs; the Run Doris Run band, Soka Gakkai International (SGI) Taiko Drummers, the Wild Wahines hula group, and the Victory over Violence group for entertaining and enlightening the workers; and finally to the 200+ volunteers that showed up to do all the work.

    Joining the local community was a large contingent of California alumni from the Sidwell Friends School in Washington D.C. They used the Earthday activities at Newcomb Academy as a reason to get together and celebrate the earth. We are very thankful for their participation.

    As people were enjoying their lunch at the end of the event it was announced that we’ll have another Earthday celebration next year. A huge cheer went up from the rather tired group, indicating that in spite of their aches and pains the day was a success for all.

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