Thanks to a long-standing partnership between the City of Lodi's Parks & Recreation Department, Tree Lodi, and the Boy Scouts of America, important landscaping work continued Saturday in the 11-acre basin at Ed DeBenedetti Park on the west end of town.
This latest effort- removal and relocation of five trees on the west slope of the sports field- is just one of many recent service projects spearheaded by local Boy Scouts. Led by scout Bili Lopez from Lodi Troop 98, fellow scout Samuel Orozco and several friends removed and repotted the trees. The move became necessary in order for the city to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The ADA requires the city to provide access to the recessed portion of the field, and the city could not begin construction of two sidewalk ramps near the entrance to the park until the trees were relocated.
Lopez, working on his Eagle Scout project, is no stranger to Ed DeBenedetti Park. Already this year, he has partnered with non-profit Tree Lodi, and Steve Dutra, Superintendent, Lodi Parks & Recreation Department on a variety of tasks. Bili helped hand water the park's 213 trees last summer. A few weeks ago under Dutra's watchful eye, Lopez and fellow scouts repaired the chain link fence on the north side of the park along Century Blvd.
The Ed DeBenedetti park service project began last February when hundreds of volunteers- most of them Boy Scouts- planted 170 trees in what Park Superintendent Steve Dutra called "an outdoor laboratory," in preparation for the city's 2012 Arbor Day celebration. Since then, the Scouts have stayed the course, planting, pruning, watering and caring for more trees, repairing fences and building owl habitats to keep the park's gophers at bay.
Tree Lodi, and the Parks & Recreation Department have a standing commitment to mentor and teach volunteers in projects all around the city of Lodi. Those interested in volunteering can contact Steve Dutra at (209)-333-6800 ex2454.
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