July 18, 2023
Porterville, Calif. – On Earth Day, April 22, 50 volunteers from Bank of the Sierra teamed up with nonprofit organizations Sequoia Parks Conservancy (SPC) and One Tree Planted to prepare 1,500 trees for planting this fall. The trees were re-potted at SPC’s nursery in Three Rivers near Sequoia National Park. The event reflects the Bank’s promise to make every community it is a part of better, as well as its commitment to counter the devastation caused by wildfires that burn millions of acres in California each year. Bank of the Sierra also works with One Tree Planted to plant a tree every time a customer opens an Impact Checking account or signs up for free digital eStatements instead of paper statements.
After arriving at the event, the volunteers were separated into small groups. Each of the groups were paired with an experienced volunteer who was able to lead and assist as needed. Earlier in the morning, 5-inch tall bare-root giant sequoia seedlings were removed from cold storage where they had been kept over the winter. Keeping the seedlings in cold storage gave the trees a temporary brown appearance but was necessary to simulate a normal winter in the Sierras.
As instructed by the SPC, volunteers re-potted the giant sequoia seedlings into 3-inch diameter tube pots by holding each seedling’s root stock in the center of its new pot, and then carefully packing fresh soil around its roots. After re-potting, the sequoia seedlings were placed in specialized racks and transferred to SPC’s nearby greenhouse. After spending the summer in SPC’s nursery, the 1,500 giant sequoias will be ready for planting in areas identified for reforestation within the local surrounding forest. The seedlings may be planted in sequoia groves that were previously destroyed by fires. The trees Bank of the Sierra volunteers helped prepare for planting could have an impact on the parks lasting thousands of years or more!
“This event demonstrates the power of local people to shape the future of giant sequoia trees and the experience of future visitors in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks,” said Savannah Boiano, Executive Director of Sequoia Parks Conservancy. “I hope that the Bank of the Sierra volunteers imagined who should be or will be sitting in the shade of the seedlings generations from now. Three hours of Bank of the Sierra service will help build giant sequoias that could last up to 3,000 years in the future.”
Unfortunately for the Sequoia Parks Conservancy, rain and floods earlier this year have required the organization to reschedule or delay many of its projects. The weather has even limited access to certain areas of the park where staff would normally work. Recent disasters, including fires in addition to the flooding issues, have increased the organization’s need to perform revegetation on affected landscapes.
Companies or individuals interested in participating in a tree planting event or other beneficial project can contact the Volunteers-In-Parks Office by emailing SEKI_volunteer@nps.gov or calling (559) 565-4287. The organization will assist with matching groups to volunteer projects.
“Bringing two organizations that I’m a part of together for the greater good was a wonderful opportunity that could not be passed up,” said Hugh Boyle, Bank of the Sierra Chief Risk and Credit Officer and Sequoia Parks Conservancy Board Member and Treasurer. “I’m incredibly proud of the work our volunteers accomplished today. It is not an exaggeration to say that it will impact our communities for generations.”
About Sequoia Parks Conservancy
The Sequoia Parks Conservancy funds and enables projects and programs that protect, preserve, and provide access to the natural and cultural resources of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Sequoia Parks Conservancy was created through a merger between the Sequoia National History Association (SNHA) and the Sequoia Park Foundation. The SNHA was created in 1940 to assist the National Park Service in supporting education endeavors. The Sequoia Parks Foundation was created in 1986 and helped fund park improvements.
About One Tree Planted
One Tree Planted is a nonprofit organization that is focused on global reforestation. The organization has worked with its partners in over 80 countries to plant more than 92 million trees since 2014. Over half of that total – almost 53 million trees – were planted in 2022 alone.
About Bank of the Sierra
Bank of the Sierra is in its 45th year of operations and is the largest independent bank headquartered in the South San Joaquin Valley. Bank of the Sierra is a community-centric regional bank, which offers a full range of retail and commercial banking services with full-service branches located within the counties of Tulare, Kern, Kings, Fresno, Ventura, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara. The bank also maintains two loan production offices and an online branch and provides specialized lending services through an agricultural credit center. Bank of the Sierra is recognized as one of the strongest community banks in the country with a 5-star rating from Bauer Financial.