By Caryn Bosson and Gabriele Lashly

Ojai Trees is actively replacing Ojai's declining heritage oaks and other native trees with young trees that should be spreading their branches over our streets, yards, and open spaces for the next hundred years and more. This summer, two of us Ojai Trees board members, Gabriele Lashly and Caryn Bosson, visited the Bristlecone Pine Forest in the White Mountains of California east of Inyo, as part of our vacation.

There we walked through the Methuselah Grove, home of a tree recorded to be more than 4,700 years old. Although where this exact tree is remains a mystery (for its protection), the numerous sculptural millenium-old Bristlecone Pines were a wonder to see. Perched at almost 10,000 feet and subject to extreme heat and cold, they continue to persevere.

We at Ojai Trees heartily recommend getting out and connecting with trees in their natural settings. It's not only renewing to the spirit, but it also helps inspire us to keep planting and caring for our community forest in the Ojai Valley.

Keeping trees alive and healthy in our Valley for generations to come is a big job. We appreciate your support in this important work.

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Updated: Jun 21

When you join us as a volunteer you learn how to plant trees the right way so that they can flourish for years to come and adding strength and beauty to our urban tree canopy.

We met up at 8:30 a.m. to form our crews, receive instructions, and locations. Planting should be finished by noon.Social Distancing protocols were observed.

Dates were Feb. 27 and April 3.

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I planted trees with Ojai Trees the weekend before Thanksgiving. My favorite volunteer activity. Over the years, I have helped to plant many trees all over the Ojai Valley. When I drive through town, I see trees I planted years ago. They are heathy and lovely, giving shade, oxygen and visual interest. Those trees will give joy not only to me, but to generations to come.

Trees sometimes thrive and other times they fail – just like people. The recent drought years and ongoing climate change make it difficult for some species to thrive in our valley. Too hot and too dry for nonnatives. But we still have many trees that are doing great.

Right now many trees show amazing fall colors. Season changes are subtle in our valley but trees let us know that fall has arrived. Bright red Chinese Pistache and Sweet Gum trees, golden Sycamores and Mulberry trees. The air is crisp and clear. The light early in the mornings and late afternoons is beautiful. I love living in Ojai, close to the mountains and the ocean. I am hoping for rain soon. Then the dust disappears, the trees get a respite and the air smells intensely. Trees heal my spirit and give me peace and hope. Right what I need in these difficult times of Covid-19. I am looking forward to our spring tree planting event and seeing more trees gracing our valley.

Contributed by Ojai Trees Board Member Gabriele Lashly who is pictured the second from right with her planting team.

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