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Green for green

Donations for trees are being accepted through the end of month.

March 17, 2010|By Rima Bek

When Eileen Cobos’ grandson was born, she bought a tree at Vickroy Park in his honor. Her grandson, Devon Cobos, is now 11 and attends Thomas Edison Elementary School.

Cobos was participating in Burbank’s annual Plant-A-Tree campaign. Also known by some as the “Tree Lady,” Eileen Cobos has been involved with the project since 1996. She is this year’s chairwoman of the event.

“It’s a really nice program,” Eileen Cobos said.

Ten dollars can buy a unit, and people can buy as many units as they wish. Each tree can cost about $125, said Jan Bartolo, deputy director of Burbank Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department.


Burbank plans to celebrate the 55th annual Plant-A-Tree Month with a ceremony March 25 at Stough Park.

The Plant-A-Tree Campaign was started by the Burbank Women’s Council in 1955. For 40 years, they collected donations to give to the city so that dying and dead trees in Burbank could be replaced.

In 1996, the Burbank Civic Pride Committee took over the project and has since continued to plant trees in parks, residential parkways and along the Chandler Bikeway. These volunteer groups have worked on this project in conjunction with the parks department employees who plant and maintain the trees.

Linda Silvas, a 50-year Burbank resident, has been involved with the Civic Pride Committee for almost 10 years.

“Whatever tree is there, you can make it your symbolic tree,” Silvas said.

Silvas recalled how a couple of elderly women had a relative die in Europe, but did not have a place to go to remember that relative. By buying a tree, they could symbolically visit the person who died.

In 2009, the campaign raised almost $1,600 and planted Chinese pistache and Jacarandas at last year’s ceremonies.

This year, the campaign has already reached about the same amount, and money is still coming in, said Cinda Cates, public information specialist with the city.

The species of the trees to be planted this year is undetermined, Bartolo said.

The campaign will also plant a tree in memory of World War I, Bartolo added.

For the past 30 years, Burbank has been designated a “Tree City” by the Arbor Day Foundation and the National Assn. of State Foresters.

To become a Tree City, a city must meet four requirements, according to the Arbor Day Foundation website. It must have a tree board or department; set a tree care ordinance; establish a community forestry program with an annual budget of at least $2 per capita; and have an Arbor Day Observance and Proclamation.

Donations will be accepted through the end of March, which is also known as Arbor Month. To be listed in the program, donations must be submitted by Thursday.

To donate, an insert can be found in last month’s utility bill. Fliers are available at any of the Burbank library branches. An application can also be downloaded at

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