Town Crier: Hundreds of trees in search of takers in Oakland

MONTCLARION: February 16, 2017

If someone offered to plant a tree in your yard at no cost, would you take it? Most of us would say yes. After all, trees enhance property. They absorb carbon dioxide, provide shade and a home for birds, squirrels and other wildlife.

But there are some things you can’t even give away. The Sierra Club Tree Team has hundreds of free saplings, ready for planting in the flatlands of Oakland, but can’t seem to find enough takers.

“Not everyone wants a tree,” says the group’s founder, Arthur Boone, “and it’s especially complicated in Oakland where 60 percent of the people live in rental housing and the owner has to sign the tree request.”

Boone was given a copy of the article I wrote on the Sierra Club volunteers who were planting trees in Montclair Village recently. It made him think that I may be able to help.

“We have 1,500 trees given to us by the California Department of Forestry … and are looking for places to plant them,” he says.

With the help of Sierra Club volunteers, they’ve planted over 1,000 trees since the program got started in 2009. If you know of any flatlands property — public or private — where the owners would be willing to care for new trees, you can contact Boone at

Around town: Crogan’s Montclair is having a memorial for longtime bartender Joe Hannon, who died on Christmas Eve. The wake will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. Feb. 19 at the bar Joe called home for 25 years.

Saturated soil: Speaking of trees, shallow-root firs and other tall timber keep falling in the Oakland hills, thanks to the heavy rains. The Montclair Railroad Trail has a number of hazards, including mud and rock slides and trees that are leaning precariously. If you’re walking the trail, watch for the caution cones and report any new hazards to 510-615-5566 or by email to

Animal tales: Wildlife enthusiast Kay Loughman has released her January 2017 bird count for the Northhills neighborhood (boundaries are Tunnel Road, Domingo Avenue, Claremont Canyon and Grizzly Peak Boulevard). Forty-eight bird species were spotted, including some beauties: hawks, kites and eagles, Hairy Woodpeckers and Tyrant Flycatchers. Check out photos at Kay says these birds should be in the hills through March.

And a nod to our four-footed friends … reader Ellen Heilig-Pille’ (branch manager at Fidelity National Title in Montclair) says she had two recent coyote sightings in one week along Saroni Drive. One coyote was running up the 6800 block of Saroni toward Sayre and the other was in her backyard eating something. “Once it spotted us, it picked up the carcass and ran up the hillside,” she says. Check your pets, folks, and make sure they come in at night.

Got news? You can reach Ginny Prior by email at or on the web at http://www.


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