Growing Trees in Community

The Episcopal Diocese of San Diego has set out to provide more shade for its neighbors. In the last study, the urban canopy of San Diego was rated at 13%, with (98,204 acres) of the city’s land that could theoretically accommodate more tree canopy. Many underserved, under-greened, underfunded neighborhoods lack a significant tree canopy, and the people of EDSD and our partners are here to serve.    

On a beautiful Sunday, March 12, over 40 volunteers came to St. Philip’s in Lemon Grove throughout the afternoon to help plant trees, feed volunteers, and show their support. And these were not just the people of St. Philip’s that volunteered. Episcopalians from St. Mark’s in City Heights, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Christ Church in Coronado, and St. Mathew’s in National City came out to help. The volunteers ranged from children to ‘older folk.’ Some had extensive experience, and others with hopeful intentions learned about gardening for the first time.

Community partners participated throughout the day too. Interfaith creation care groups such as OneEarth Jubilee,  representatives from the Climate Action Campaign, and the co-founders of the Lemon Grove community garden all stopped by. 

Neighbors of St. Philips, out on their afternoon walks, stopped to ask questions which opened the door to meeting new people and sharing the good news of Christ. 

Rev. Carlos Garcia, Priest in Charge at St. Philip’s, was eager to participate in this program, not only for the environmental impact but for the beautification of the neighborhood and the opportunity to engage their neighbors in a new way. ”May every tree that we plant here grow as our love of God will grow too,” said Rev. Garcia.

EDSD’s “Growing Trees in Community” initiative is supporting congregations in growing trees on their campuses or on neighbors’ properties.

EDSD Missioner for Multicultural Ministries and the lead for the Growing Trees in Community initiative, Rachel Ambassing, said, “We want to grow trees in community, with community, and for community.” This is not just about our churches but the neighborhoods, the people, and the beauty of our church’s neighborhoods. 

If serving your neighbor, planting trees, and providing beauty for decades to come sounds like a ministry you’d enjoy, let us know your interest here, and Rachel will contact you.

EDSD especially thanks Tree San Diego, who provided trees, materials, arborist expertise, and a team of urban tree-planting interns and fellows. Tree San Diego is one of EDSD’s local tree partners who plant, plot San Diego’s tree canopy, and train community members to be tree stewards.