Plant It Forward 2023: Growing Our Urban Forest


Dig in! Join Forever Balboa Park for a hybrid series all about the importance of trees in our community, Balboa Park’s urban forest, and engaging topics to help you “plant it forward” in your own backyard. Rooted in hands-on learning, our family-friendly virtual series features tree planting suggestions and education on climate-friendly and native tree

Plant It Forward 2023: Growing Our Urban Forest is a two-day event on Nov. 3-4, celebrating trees in San Diego and inspired by Kate Sessions, the “Mother of Balboa Park.” Join us and share your images, stories, and planting tips on social media.

Ways to Participate 

  • Plant It Forward tree planting with City Heights Prep Charter School—November 3
  • Join us in an at-home planting—pick up a FREE sapling in Balboa Park at the Plaza de Panama and plant it at home
  • Spread the word—share our mini-videos as they launch on social media (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube)
  • Level up—support your local nursery and select your own climate-appropriate trees in celebration of Plant It Forward and San Diego’s urban forest!

FREE saplings available for pickup at our Plant It Forward Pop-Up Event

  • Time: Saturday, Nov 4, 9 am – 12 pm
  • Location: Plaza de Panama, Balboa Park 
  • Quantity Available: 100 saplings
  • Park Cleanup Event Optional: Stay to help clean up Balboa Park, all supplies provided 

Please note that all saplings are available for pickup on a first-come, first-served basis. Limit 1 plant per household. You will be asked to fill out a brief digital form (name, email, zip code) upon pickup—we will not be sharing this information with anyone. Plants will be distributed beginning at the starting time listed until supplies run out

We’ve partnered with SDG&E to create a series of mini video tutorials.

Check out the links below to learn more about the ecological benefits of trees, safe tree planting, choosing climate-appropriate trees, and the issue of inequity in urban forests. We’ll even supply you with your own climate-appropriate or native sapling, available for pickup at Forever Balboa Park’s Plant It Forward pop-up event on Saturday, Nov. 4 (while supplies last). Trees nurture our well-being, help reduce the impact of climate change, and provide habitat for wildlife. Plant it forward today!

Plant It Forward Videos

Ecological Benefits of Trees

Choosing the Right Tree

Safe Tree Planting

Inequity in Urban Forests

5 Suggested Trees to Grow at Home

Want to plant other trees at home? Here are five suggested species to grow in the San Diego area:

  • Quercus agrifolia, Coast Live Oak
  • Prunus ilicifolia, Hollyleaf Cherry
  • Platanus racemosa, California Sycamore
  • Pinus torreyana, Torrey Pine
  • Populus fremontii ssp. fremontii, Fremont Cottonwood
  • Sambucus mexicana, Mexican Blue Elderberry
Use the California Native Plant Society as a resource! 

Did You Know? 

Plant It Forward falls the week before Kate Session’s birthday, November 8. Kate Sessions is known as the “Mother of Balboa Park” for her work in landscaping the park in its early days

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