New trees added to existing “forest” at Menlo Park VA in honor of Veterans Day

by Linda Hubbard on November 11, 2010

In honor of Veterans Day, the VA Palo Alto Health Care System in partnership with Canopy, planted a 11 trees on the Menlo Park campus today, adding to what is already an amazing urban forest. The planting was done by Veteran volunteers and students from East Side College Prep.

The trees -valley oak, red oak, red maple, crab apple, and saucer magnolia were planted around Building 347,  a homeless rehabilitation center that serves 100 veterans. Canopy program director and arborist Micheal Hawkins (pictured far right above) said “healthy trees make for a healthy community.”

According to Paul di Bari, Chief of Operations, the Menlo campus has over 30 varieties of trees, the most abundant being coast live oak and Italian stone pine.  “Menlo Park, as a city, is noted for its trees, which is characterized in the city logo,” says di Bari.  “VA Menlo Park has embraced that same image and prides itself in the sheer number, care, and beauty of the trees on campus.

“Most trees on the campus are as old, if not older than the first buildings built here when it was a military base.  We consider the trees to be a great asset to our medical center and programs.  Some of the larger Oak trees along the perimeter of the campus are even considered to be historical by the city of Menlo Park.

“As our healthcare system has expanded, and programs have come and gone, the site has seen a change in the landscape.  My office has invested a great deal of time and money to preserve the existing trees as best we can and to also plant new trees whenever possible.  We feel that the trees here help provide a comforting feeling and home-like environment for our patients.”

Three years ago, di Bari enlisted the help of a dedicated arborist.  “It is definitely an advantage for me to use the services of the same arborist,” he says.  “He is aware of the variety of tree species, the state of maturity of the trees, and the level of care required to maintain a healthy environment.  Since I began working with Arborwell, and Jon Maystrik in particular, we have developed tree maintenance plans for all of the VA Palo Alto Health Care System facilities.  Just like building maintenance, the trees also need dedicated care and service.”

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