A public forum to discuss the opportunities and challenges related to the concept of an arboretum in Santa Monica will be held Tuesday, May 17 in the Thelma Terry Building at Virginia Avenue Park at 7 p.m.

Descanso Gardens Executive Director David Brown will provide a keynote address on “The Challenges of Changing Public Spaces with Plants and Trees” and Santa Monica Recreation and Parks commissioners Dryden Helgoe and Richard McKinnon will make a presentation of an arboretum concept plan that they drafted.

A panel discussion comprised of Santa Monica Community Forester Walt Warriner, Horticulture Director at Descanso Gardens Brian Sullivan and Helgoe will follow.

“Santa Monica is already focused on its trees, its urban forest, and the benefits they bring. Making the city an arboretum involves adding and extending our thinking of what trees we plant, where we plant them and why,” said McKinnon. “Making Santa Monica an arboretum guarantees we diversify and intensify the trees we plant and value, it symbolizes the values of the people who live here and represents a big idea about our city.”

The Santa Monica’s Recreation and Parks Commission and the city’s Urban Forest Master Plan Task Force are sponsoring the meeting.

“The arboretum forum is designed for maximum public input and comment on turning Santa Monica into an urban Arboretum with three key elements,” Helgoe added. “First, a dense central hub (including growing grounds); second, tree plantings along our roads and boulevards linked to parks with specific elements of new diversified tree plantings injected into them and finally, planting the banks of the 10 Freeway to create significant tree stands.” Following the panel discussion, attendees will have an opportunity to express their thoughts on the concept plan.

Virginia Avenue Park is at 2200 Virginia Ave., Santa Monica. The park is served by Big Blue Bus lines 7 and 11.

Information, www.smgov.net/ccs/rpc.

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