Ukiah Tree General Public Meeting Tuesday 2/24/09, 5:15 pm (Updated)

From Linda Sanders
Friends of Gibson Creek

2/19/09 Ukiah, California (updated) I just finished this amazing book by Thomas Pakenham, Remarkable Trees of the World. A self described “tree hunter” and renowned botanist traveled to the remotest parts of the world and to teeming metropolis’s to capture unique, rare or endangered trees with his 30 lb. Linhof camera. Pakenham winnowed down hundreds of pictures and chose sixty individual/groups of trees using three principles. Each tree must be on its feet, dead or alive, have a strong personality, and have a good face. Seven of those pictures were taken in California. Those trees you’ve gazed upon, talked to or maybe even hugged are in this book.

What about the lovely, stately and unique trees in our little town? Well there are less of them now. The Ukiah Community Forest Management Plan calls for protection and maintenance of our urban forest. Wednesday night, the Ukiah City Council voted 4 to 1 to change the language in the animal code from owner to caretaker. Essentially, the caretaker is responsible for their dog or cat. The impetus for this change was to increase compassion towards animals, by changing the language you change human behavior. The original request was to move from “owner” to “guardian” but the Council determined “caretaker” was the least controversial term. My dictionary defines caretaker as a person employed to look after or take charge of goods, property, or a person. I think guardian is a much better word choice. One who guards, protects or defends creature, person, tree.

Is the City of Ukiah a responsible caretaker of our urban forest? Please come to a public meeting between Friends of Gibson Creek, ReLeaf, and the City this Tuesday, February 24th at 5:15pm at the City Annex (on the North side of the Civic Center), it will be an opportunity to clarify existing City policies regarding trees and chart any new directions. Council member Mary Anne Landis is facilitating the meeting. If you wish to attend and want to review the City tree-related documents ahead of time then send me an e-mail and I will forward them to you.



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