Sustainability efforts continue in Yolo County amid COVID-19 restrictions

Sustainability efforts continue in Yolo County amid COVID-19 restrictions

Photo Credits: Katherine Hung / Aggie

Woodland City Government and a non-profit work towards the goal of local sustainability

On Dec. 9, 2021, Yolo County held its second public workshop for its Climate Action Plan. The plan is a continuation of Yolo County’s sustainability efforts. 

According to the Yolo County website, the workshop was meant to help develop a long-term sustainability plan. 

“One of Yolo County’s strategic goals is ‘A Sustainable Environment,’ which serves to focus the County’s energy on comprehensively planning its environmental roadmap for the future” the website reads. “The development of the Sustainability Plan is designed to support this goal by assessing and highlighting existing sustainability programs and processes.” 

As Yolo County continues to move forward in its sustainability plan, sustainability efforts also continue at the city level and through independent local non-profit organizations. Woodland’s Environmental Sustainability Manager Ken Loman explained that Woodland itself has an independent committee for sustainability.  

“The City of Woodland’s Sutainaiblity Advisory committee is not related to Yolo County’s Sustainability Program,” Loman said via email. “One of its functions is to assist the City of Woodland with implementing the community-based aspects of our Climate Action plan.” 

According to the City of Woodland’s website, Woodland’s Climate Action Plan (CAP) is a planning document that provides community-based strategies to help the City, local businesses and residents in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. 

“A local climate action plan is based on the premise that local governments and the communities they represent are uniquely capable of addressing many of the major sources of emissions within their jurisdictions” the website reads. “Local climate action plans typically address an array of activities and planning practices that directly or indirectly affect [greenhouse gas] emissions.” 

Loman explained that those interested in Woodland’s sustainability efforts should visit the Environmental Services section of the city’s website

In addition to the sustainability work through city government, Woodland also boasts several non-profits with the aim of environmental sustainability outreach and action. One of these organizations, The Woodland Tree Foundation, has planted over 800 native valley oaks on the state highway over the last 20 years. 

President of the Woodland Tree Foundation David Wilkinson explained that the foundation works closely with the city government. 

“Tree planting is one of the goals in the City of Woodland’s CAP to absorb more greenhouse gases,” Wilkinson said. “We plan to reduce Woodland’s carbon footprint. The City of Woodland has been a big supporter. We work closely with the City on some of our tree planting projects. We’re very involved in public policy.” 

While the Foundation doesn’t often work at the county level, Wilkinson explained that the Woodland Tree Foundation is currently helping the county landscape some of its community facilities in Woodland. 

Wilkinson explained that the organization is not only environmentally beneficial, but is also an important facet of local environmental programs since it fosters a sense of community. 

“Our motto is building community through canopy,” Wilkinson said. “The purpose of our foundation is to educate the public about the value of trees and to plant lots of trees with volunteers through the community to instil pride in the neighborhood.” 

Wilkinson explained that while Woodland has historically had tens of thousands of valley oak trees, recent counts show as few as 900 12-inch diameter valley oaks growing in the area. 

“Most of them have been taken out over the years for farming, development and old age and never replanted,” Wilkinson said. 

While COVID-19 has impacted the Foundation’s ability to gather large groups of volunteers, Wilkinson explained that they are continuing to carry out the foundation’s mission of tree planting and environmental suitability in a safe manner. 

“We’re still planting,” Wilkinson said. “We’re just planting individually, or maybe with one partner. […] we’ve just had to scale it back.” 

For community members who want to get involved, Wilkinson recommends visiting the Woodland Tree Foundation website for more information about trees and volunteering opportunities. 

“Hopefully we can get back to tree planting later this year,” Wilkinson said. “We’d love to have students or anyone sign up to volunteer. We can do that safely. We have a lot of planting to do later this year.” 
Written by: Yan Yan Hustis Hayes — city@theaggie.org