SVCC Fellows Assisting Woodland with Meeting its Climate Action Goals

Shade Tree Coordinator Rolf Frankenbach and SVCC Fellows Elizabeth Aquino and Tien Truong stand beside a newly planted tree.
Shade Tree Coordinator Rolf Frankenbach and SVCC Fellows Elizabeth Aquino and Tien Truong stand beside a newly planted tree.

Woodland’s urban forest works two-fold to reduce the effects of climate change. First, by increasing cooling shade which reduces fossil fuel consumption needed to power air conditioning. Second, the growing trees absorb carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas contributing to the warming of the planet. Planting more trees–thousands of them–and growing Woodland’s tree coverage is a key goal of the community’s Climate Action Plan, which prescribes several ways the “City of Trees” will reduce its carbon footprint.

Sacramento Valley College Corps (SVCC) fellows, Elizabeth Aquino and Tien Truong, are now busy at work helping Woodland achieve those lofty and critical goals one neighborhood at a time. Both of these UC Davis undergraduate students will spend the school term working part-time for the Woodland Tree Foundation in lower-income neighborhoods that have a relatively low tree coverage.

Both SVCC fellows have a strong interest in community service while pursuing degrees in Chicano Studies (Elizabeth) and Applied Statistics in Sociology (Tien). The SVCC team will work at the grassroots level offering Woodland homeowners and renters the opportunity to shade their houses, reduce energy bills, and green their neighborhoods.

“Elizabeth and Tien will focus their efforts in underserved Woodland areas that need more trees and shade,” according to the Tree Foundation’s SVCC coordinator, Rolf Frankenbach, who also serves on the Woodland Sustainability Advisory Committee. “Their passion for this type of work and bilingual skills will help the Foundation and the City achieve important goals of environmental justice spread throughout the community. It’s clear from the Foundation’s research, large areas of Woodland outside the wooded core area need more trees.” The Foundation’s California ReLeaf grant pays for the trees and volunteers will help plant the trees, which are selected to withstand dry and warming conditions on modest amounts of water.

College Corps was developed by the State of California to create a generation of civic-minded leaders who will bridge divides to solve problems. Selected college students are paid a $10,000 stipend for their work, which averages 15 hours per week during the school year; the stipend will help students graduate on time and with less debt.

A key goal is to build more equitable communities across California. The areas of focus are K-12 Education, Climate Action, and Food Insecurity. SVCC is a consortium of Woodland Community College, UC Davis, Sacramento State, and the University of the Pacific, facilitating College Corp programs in the northern Central Valley region of California. 3,250 students throughout the state are participating in College Corps during its maiden year.