Benicia's Tree Keepers - Roster

1. Anabelle Marie Cruz and her husband Dale Robbins were the first to become Benicia Tree Keepers. (picture below) Anabelle also happens to be the founder of the Voena Choir. The amazing Voena Choir performed at the 2011 Arbor Day Celebration in Benicia. The Benicia Tree Foundation along with their neighbors helped to plant the following tree species in their home landscape:

  • Styrax Japonica – Japanese Snowbell
  • Acer Palmatum – Japanese Maple
  • Acer palmatum 'Sango-kaku’
  • Italian cypress trees- Cupressus sempervirens
Cruz-Robbins Tree Planting
First Tree Keeper Planting at the home of Annabelle Marie Cruz and Dale Robbins

2.Jude and John Potter became honorary Tree Keepers when they won a raffle held by the Benicia Tree Foundation at the Commanding Officers Quarters Tour Event in December 2010. They received and planted a Podocarpus "Icee Blue."

Judy Potter

3. Pamela Blakey and her husband Doug Hart became Tree-Keepers on May 21, 2011. (Photo below) With help from the Benicia Tree Foundation, they planted 9 Copper Leaf (Photinia Fraserii - grows as tree or shrub) along Military West, near Drolette Way. Mayor Elizabeth Patterson stopped in to acknowledge their efforts to help beautify one the main traffic corridors in Benicia.

"Having lived in Benicia for three years, it was finally time to address the one concern we have about our new house.  We needed to provide some sort of coverage to block out the unsightly road traffic.  My wife and I tried to plant our own plants to provide a quick fix, but failed to plant the right ones.  My wife did some research and found the Benicia Tree foundation.  They were the perfect fit for our needs.  Benicia Tree Foundation sourced the right trees for our back yard.  Nine fifteen gallon Photinia Fraseri (chokeberry) were added to the road side of our fence line.  We now have instant gratification of no longer having to look at vehicles as they pass by.  Benicia Tree Foundation has now made it possible for us to enjoy our backyard.  This has been a truly positive win-win situation for us and for the environment and for the beautification of Benicia." -Pamela Blakey & Doug Hart

Blakey-Hart Planting Crew


4. The Hunt Family (picture below) became Tree-Keepers on August 4, 2011. (Photo below) Christine and her sons wanted to honor Mark's return from military duty. They aptly chose a 24" Gingko biloba tree -- revered tree for it's long life and healing qualities. Christine is a special education teacher and Mark is a physical therapist. Their property in the Southhampton area of Benicia is already resplendent with trees, and this planting will help shade the back side of their home. Even the family dog joined in for the fun!

"Our family decided to plant our new Ginko tree in celebration of my husband, a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army Reserves, return from his year of mobilization for service in Afghanistan. During his tour in there, he worked on a Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in the Kapisa Province, assisting with rebuilding their infrastructure to improve their ability to provide services to the people of Afghanistan. One of the projects that he was involved in occurred in conjunction with the holiday of Nowruz. This holiday takes place on the first day of spring, and celebrates the New Year in Afghanistan.  One tradition of this New Year’s celebration is the planting of trees to signify the rebirth of nature.  My husband’s  PRT purchased fifty trees to give to Afghan local officials to plant in their communities, in order to assist their commemoration of this event. Our new tree will serve for years to come as a reminder of the reunion of our family, as well as provide shade and beauty to our home. We thank Wolfram Alderson from the Benicia Tree Foundation for assisting us in planning for, selecting, and planting this tree. His expertise and assistance was valued and appreciated." - The Hunt Family

Happy Hunt Family - Tree-Keepers

5. Brita and Nikolai Bautin (picture below) became Tree-Keepers on August 23, 2011. They needed a shade tree in their side year to cool one side of the house. They also wanted a deciduous tree so they could benefit from the heat during the winter.

"Nick and I choose to join the Benicia Tree Foundation because we wanted to give something back to our town and to our Earth....we considered this a win-win situation.  After much thought we decided to add a tree that was basically a native to North America, that needed little care, changed over the season's and basically, fulfilled all the other functions a tree provides:  beauty, shade, privacy, a home for birds, etc., etc.....oh, and as a footnote, the Redbud was used by native american's as a basket making material." -Brita and Nick Bautin 

Brita and Nikolai



















6. Jim Kushera and Beate Bruhl became Tree-Keepers on August 25, 2011. They wanted fruit trees in their front yard and chose a Trovita Orange and a Meyer Lemon from Devil Mountain Nursery. Next to their two fruit trees is a beautiful Olive tree that they recently salvaged when a neighbor chose to remove it. Their property is adorned with trees, including a giant Redwood in their backyard.

"When we bought our house 12 years ago, it was surrounded by an old lawn and no trees had been planted for years. We added some trees on our own but joining the Benicia tree foundation has made a big difference in how we go about it. It was a revelation  working with Wolfram Alderson and finding out about the relationship of good soil management techniques to overall tree health. And we're looking forward (along with our neighbors), to enjoying years of 100% fresh-squeezed Benicia orange juice from our new trees."

Jim and Beate

7. The DeLeon Family become Tree-Keepers December 3, 2011 while implementing their tree project at St. Dominic School. These two trees were planted at St. Dominic School in Benicia and are a joint project of the DeLeon family, St. Dominic, and the Benicia Tree Foundation. The project was spearheaded by the Elena Karoulina, and her dedicated family members including her son, Daniel DeLeon and her husband Mariano DeLeon. Desert Willow (Chilopsis linearis) is a large deciduous shrub or a small tree (15 feet or so).  "It's our sincere hope that these two Desert Willows will be followed by other trees and plants on the St. Dominic School yard to make it an inviting, beautiful green space that nourishes the souls of our children," remarked Elena. The DeLeon family became Tree-Keepers during the implementation of the project, and raised funds for the trees with support from St. Dominic School. Elena is active in the community and serves on the Board of the Benicia Community Gardens, a partner of the Benicia Tree Foundation.

DeLeon Family Tree-Keepers

Daniel DeLeon proudly shows off his work at St. Dominic School

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