University of Redlands volunteers researching different types of trees to increase shade in Inland Empire amid rising heat index

REDLANDS, Calif. (KABC) -- April 22 marks the 51st anniversary of Earth Day. A program at the University of Redlands is doing its part to honor the day by working to learn which trees are best at dealing with climate change on a campus farm.

But this team of volunteers is embarking on a new challenge.

"What we're working towards is developing a tree farm where we can grow trees to a size that families will accept and put in their yards and help shade their houses, in the IE because of the heat index rising, because of climate change," said Tony Mueller, Director of Community Service & Learning, University of Redlands.

These volunteers will spend the next several months researching and establishing a nursery to grow trees. They are working with elementary schools and the water conservation district to build a tree canopy in Redlands.



Volunteer Jenny Solis says she grew up in the Inland Empire without air conditioning, and knows the benefits trees have on physical and mental health.

"We want to make sure there is shade for years to come for kids to play around in. We know that trees take years and years to grow," said Jenny Solis, CA Climate Action Corps volunteer, University of Redlands.

University of Redlands is the only school selected to participate in the California Climate Action Corps. It was established by the governors' office - and is the country's first state-level climate service corps to address the ever worsening climate crisis.

"We can do better on educating people about trees but it's also kind of difficult to get trees; trees are very expensive if you're buying straight from the nursery. You also have to have a place to put it in your yard. And you have to take care of it and maintain it," said Helena Candaele, CA Climate Action Corps volunteer.

Earth Week 2021 is coming up and organizers' message and mission is clear: As the world returns to normal, we cannot go back to business as usual.

Volunteers at Redlands are proud of their assignment to take climate action.

"This isn't for us. This is for our future generations. Our children and the children of our children," said Bryan Miranda Quintana, CA Climate Action Corps Volunteer, Cal State LA graduate.

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