There will be 60 new Ojai street trees soaking up the winter rains after a new tree planting initiative takes place starting this fall. They’ll be the right trees planted in the right place providing shade, decreasing the heat island effect, and increasing rainwater capture in the years to come. Do you want one?      

“Ojai Trees will be partnering with The Center for Regenerative Agriculture and CREW to plant them,” said Garrett Clifford, president of Ojai Trees. “David White, CRA’s Executive Director, obtained this important grant from Cal ReLeaf to plant street trees in Ojai and Ventura.”

According to White the project, “Ventura County ReLeaf,” uses Prop 68 monies made available through CalFire to areas which suffered from extreme weather events, including the Paradise, Redding and Ventura County.

“CRA was already doing Thomas Fire regeneration work across Ventura County with grant support from the Ojai Women's Fund and Patagonia.” said White, who reached out to Cal ReLeaf for tree planting funds. “It took over a year and a half from an initial conversation with CalReLeaf representatives to sign the paperwork. The main grant partners are CRA, CREW, the Cities of Ventura and Ojai, Ojai Trees, Restore Ventura, and the Ventura Land Trust.” 

According to White, the new grant is for the planting of over 300 trees throughout western Ventura and Ojai. 

That’s where local organizations like Ojai Trees come in. White partnered with Ojai Trees because of their grass-roots approach, working with people who want trees and their experience planting over 60 street trees in 2008. 

Ojai Trees was a 2019 recipient of a Ojai Women's Fund Grant which made the school plantings possible under the program, “Shade for Ojai’s Children.” That program plants free trees in schools, pre-schools and community center grounds around the Ojai Valley, providing a cooler place to play, work, and learn for local children.

“This October alone 45 new Ojai trees went into the ground,” said Clifford. “This included two beautiful 24" box Tipus that we planted at Monica Ros School. We are looking forward to working with David to plant more trees in Ojai.”

All tree requests will go through Ojai Trees; their trained foresters will visit homes that request a street tree and help select the best tree for the location.  Ojai Trees will also review the homeowner’s responsibility to care for the tree. “It’s similar to adopting a pet from the County Animal Shelter”, said Clifford, “we want to make sure these trees are going to families who’ll care for them”.  “The care requirements are primarily during the first 5 years, as all the trees are natives and eventually can survive independently”.

“We will plant the trees using the CREW,” said White. “CREW is a great local resource. They train young people to provide labor for environmental restoration and tree planting projects. The bonus is green-collar jobs for youth and contributions to our restoration economy.” 

“With this grant, people can plant a tree and participate in a nature-based environmental solution,” said White. “It’s carbon banking, watershed protection and increasing community resilience with so many other positive effects. Over the last 500 years, we have a lost a tremendous amount of trees which has accelerated the drying of our landscape. Tree planting is key to using nature to slow climate change.”

This grant takes another step toward reforesting the Ojai Valley. If you are interested in a street tree in your yard please contact Ojai Trees at

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We just received this beautiful thank you from one of the schools where we planted trees last spring under our "Shade For Ojai's Children" program. Each leaf is a child's thumbprint. We love it!

Ojai Trees was responsible for nine new Fruitless Mulberry trees on the campus of Holy Cross preschool. To date, Ojai Trees has planted 39 trees at 5 schools. This Fall we have three additional schools in the planning phase for planting trees. This program was made possible by a grant from the Ojai Woman's Fund and our volunteers!

Go Ojai! Please consider planting trees the right way, in the right place for the planet!

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Here are some very interesting  books about trees for your late summer reading.

The Overstory  by Richard Powers  is a sweeping novel about nine Americans whose unique life experiences with trees bring them together to address the destruction of forests and urban trees. It won a 2019 Pulitzer Prize for fiction and is one of the most interesting novels about trees you may ever read. From the American Chestnuts to the Giant Sequoias, the beautifully multi-layered novel shows how deeply humans are affected by trees. The wisdom and utility of trees underpins much of the novel.  According to Washington Post Critic Ron Charles, "This ambitious novel soars up through the canopy of American literature and remakes the landscape of environmental fiction."

Two non-fiction sources used for the novel include Peter Wohlleben’s The Hidden Life of Trees, and The Golden Spruce by John Vaillant. Both books are excellent reads as well.

Wohlleben’s book  presents previously unknow science about how trees communicate and share nutrients with those who are sick or struggling, creating an ecosystem that mitigates the impact of extremes of heat and cold within the whole groups of trees. As a result of such interactions, Wohlleben explains that forestry must take a different approach.

Vaillant’s book recounts the controversial true story of the felling of a sacred tree known as the Golden Spruce in Canada and the environmental impact of logging.

Happy reading.

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