Urban Releaf to Break Ground in Tree Poor West Oakland Neighborhood

The Ground Breaking for Urban Releaf's 31st Green Street Demonstration Project takes place Thursday, October 21 from 11-1 p.m. The event will take place on the corner of 31st and Market Street in West Oakland.

Following the success of Urban Releaf's Ettie Street watershed research and evaluation projects funded by the statewide CALFED Watershed Program, the only Black run urban forestry organization in the county is launching a cutting-edge research and demonstration project with Dr. Qingfu Xiao, a water scientist with UC Davis Department of Land and Water.

The 31st Street Green Street Demonstration Project is located in the tree-scarce Hoover neighborhood in West Oakland, along two blocks between Market Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Way where tree canopy is currently non-existent.

Dr. Xiao will develop innovative tree wells using special rocks and soil that save water in two ways, according to Urban Releaf. According to the Center for Urban Forest Research, trees in urban areas mitigate air pollution, beautify the neighborhood by adding greenery and shade, save on heating and cooling costs, build a sense of community, and provide opportunities for green job training -- all in addition to saving water.

"We are looking to spread the word and demonstrate the myriad water benefits of our city's trees," says Kemba Shakur, executive director of Urban Releaf, the Oakland nonprofit leading the project. "Cities all over the world are facing water crises and are seeking water-sensitive tree well design and approach to urban forestry like this."

For more information, visit UrbanReleaf.org or call (510) 601-9062.

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