SAN FRANCISCO – San Francisco Recreation and Park Department (RPD) is celebrating Tu B’Shevat with series of community events. Tu B’Shevat is a Jewish holiday, New Year of the Trees, also known as the Jewish Arbor Day. The Day falls in the middle of winter, and tree planting has become a stable ritual to celebrate the occasion for the Jewish community in San Francisco Bay Area. This year, RPD has partnered with community advocates to launch series of special events to celebrate Tu B’Shevat.
The first Tu B’Shevat celebration took place on Sunday, February 12, 2012 where RPD and the Consulate General of Israel to the Pacific Northwest partnered planted trees at the St. Mary’s Square. The group also marked the day of Tu B’Shevat by eating fruits such as grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates.
“Tu B’Shevat raises awareness of the benefits of tree planting,” said, Phil Ginsburg, RPD General Manager. “We enjoy and support all occasions that help better our parks in San Francisco.”
Then on Wednesday, February 15, 2012, RPD will be joining the Contemporary Jewish Museum for the “Do Not Destroy” exhibition, which will showcase an international group of contemporary artists. Their work includes sculpture, video, photography, and painting with the visions of an idealized world where the natural beauty of trees is evaluated, deconstructed, and monumentalized.
In preparation for the exhibition, RPD removed hazardous trees, cut them into sizes and dimensions based on the request of one of the artists, Briela Albergaria. Then she used the trees as the medium for her art work and became part of the exhibition. This is a new and interesting public-private partnership between RPD and Contemporary Jewish Museum.
Later, on Thursday, February 23, 2012, RPD will partner with Life Frame Inc to plant 500th tree for A Living Library, a local environmental learning program with the mission of planting trees and connecting people for sustainable environment and ecological education. The event will take place at St. Mary’s Square. At the event, along with sixty 6th graders, RPD and other city agencies and community partners will be planting the 500th tree to celebrate Tu B’Shevat and A Living Library’s milestone of the planting 500 trees in parks around San Francisco.
The Tu B’Shevat celebration is part of RPD’s overall efforts to foster civic participation as well as to encourage community’s stewardship of our local parks. Through community events such as tree planting, RPD builds awareness and support for the efforts of the recreation and park system, also RPD is able to accomplish sustainable environmental projects that require large numbers of people. RPD invites San Franciscans to participate in one of our many volunteer opportunities available citywide. Please visit our website at www.sfrecpark.org.