Save the Heritage Fig Tree at Adele Harrison Middle School
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The Adele Harrison Middle School fig tree is nearly one hundred years old.
Sonoma Valley Unified School District construction crews plan to destroy this tree by next week to make room for an artificial turf soccer field. Unfortunately, the architects and construction team made no mention of the destruction of the fig tree during the District's Master Plan presentations to the public.
The Adele fig tree is no ordinary tree; it is a fully mature fruit tree and part of the 'Farm to Table' focus of Adele's horticulture program in which students use the figs to make their own fig ice cream, jam, and other recipes. Because it is large and mature, the tree provides food for birds, wildlife, and Sonoma families who collect the fruit after hours. And, as we all know, mature trees help mitigate CO2 through carbon sequestration.
As a result of the lack of communication and due diligence, key stakeholders did not receive a chance to weigh in on the full range of construction impacts. The tree is now in full leaf and fruiting, and whatever opportunities there were for transplanting during winter dormancy have been lost. Suggestions that new fig trees be propagated from cuttings misses the point entirely.
The School District now has three options:
(1) to extend the October deadline so that the fig tree can be transplanted to another suitable location (a private citizen has agreed to cover these costs);
(2) to shorten or re-position the soccer field in order to accommodate both the tree and the turf (field length is not standardized under US Soccer Association rules); or,
(3) to ignore concerns of teachers, students, parents and the community, and chop down the heritage tree.
Please join us in our effort the save the Adele fig for all our kids and community. If the tree is saved, we promise an enormous fig ice cream celebration for everyone!
Sonoma Valley Unified School District Board of Trustees
Save the Adele Harrison Heritage Fig Tree!
The SVUSD should save the heritage fig tree located on the Adele Harrison campus either by transplanting it during winter dormancy or re-positioning the artificial turf soccer field. Saving the tree not only preserves a living symbol of the District's commitment to sustainability and the Valley's agricultural heritage, but the fig tree is an important source of food for wildlife and families who collect the fruit after hours. As every Sonoma resident knows, it is a big deal to cut down an old, healthy, and productive tree. That's why the CSEC has a tree committee.
School campuses are not isolated islands and construction impacts, especially in the case of a project this size, can be both significant and diverse. Because no mention was made of tree removal by the District during public presentations or in the Master Plan, a range of stakeholders, including teachers, students and parents, were unaware of the tree's slated removal.
I urge you to reconsider the removal of this nearly 100 year-old fig tree.
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