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Home » News/Events » The Journal » December 2009 » Annual “Make ‘Em Sweat” Event

Annual “Make ‘Em Sweat” Event

Community Leaders and Volunteers Plant Trees at Del Rio Wildland Preserve

Tree planting training at the Make 'Em Sweat Event. Photo by River Partners.

On December 5, 2009, at its Del Rio Wildland Preserve, River Partners hosted more than 70 volunteers and community leaders at its first annual “Make ‘Em Sweat” tree planting event. River Partners’ members and area residents—including representatives from Butte College, Chico State, Boys and Girls Club of Paradise, Butte Environmental Council, and Altacal Audubon Society— diligently worked side-by-side with our “Shovel Team” and planted more than 1,000 valley oaks, Oregon ash, and coyote brush on the 259-acre Preserve.

Since November, our “Shovel Team” members have lent their names to the “Make ‘Em Sweat, Cool the Planet” campaign. They offered the community their services to plant a tree for every $15 donation. As a result, 600 trees were “donated” so that the featured volunteers could sweat and work in the dirt at the event. Many trees were donated in honor of a friend or loved one. Some trees went towards offsetting donors’ carbon footprint. Every tree planted at Del Rio will capture one ton of carbon dioxide.

"Shovel Team" volunteers from the community gather in preparation for planting trees at the Del Rio Wildland Preserve. Photo by River Partners.

Most of the tree donations came just two or three days before the big planting event. This was due to two energizing offers. First, Alexa Valavanis, CEO of the North Valley Community Foundation, encouraged her colleagues, friends and family to participate in the campaign, using email and social media to spread the word. Second, an anonymous donor pledged to give 167 trees if we could make a grand total of 500. Our supporters rose to the occasion and we surpassed the 600 tree mark just before the start of the event. The “Cool the Planet, Make ‘Em Sweat” efforts have helped an important conservation site along the Sacramento River Watershed, the Del Rio Wildland Preserve. The 259-acre Preserve is located in northern Glenn County approximately 15 miles southwest of Chico, next to Llano Seco Rancho. In addition to benefiting wildlife, the Del Rio Wildland Preserve is home to a number of scout projects and a popular field trip site for Butte County students, including those from Chico County Day, Marigold Elementary, Ponderosa Elementary, Butte College, and Chico State.

Here are just a few of the wildlife species (including some State-listed species) that could benefit from the planting efforts at the Del Rio Wildland Preserve: Swainson’s hawk , yellow-billed cuckoo, willow flycatcher, bald eagle, black-headed grosbeak, lazuli bunting, blue grosbeak, yellow warbler, American kestrel, northern harrier, and spotted towhee.

The above article originally appeared in the December 2009 issue of the River Partners Journal.