Start the Presses: A plant plot grows in Burbank

For the last several months, I've been involved in a group called Leadership Burbank. The group, sponsored by Woodbury University and the Burbank Chamber of Commerce, brings together people of different interests, positions and backgrounds with the stated hope that they will become more and better involved in our little burg.

I read this to mean that they're looking to get people involved in the city's boards and commissions, and perhaps even run — gasp — for office. Part of me wonders why, then, they allowed me to join the group, seeing as I would be ethically prohibited from joining any boards or running for, well, anything.

But it hit me: Maybe I can do some good. I can talk about what we're up to and maybe, just maybe, someone besides my long-suffering wife will read it.

Each class is tasked with doing a project, one that beautifies and improves the city, and one that serves as a calling-card, of sorts, for Leadership Burbank itself. The 2010 class, for example, renovated the gigantic “B” in the hills above Burbank High.

That “B,” as many may recall, was splashed with red prior to the Burbank-Burroughs annual grudge match — er, football game. That Leadership Burbank class, however, wisely put aside some funds specifically for such shenanigans, and the “B” soon shone again with newfound brilliance.

This year, the 2011 class is doing a project to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the city's incorporation. (Burbank historians rightly insist the city is quite a bit older, as the city was subdivided and named after its namesake and founding dentist in 1887.)

Our plan is to plant 100 trees. Why trees? Well, trees provide shade, beautify their surroundings, and their falling leaves give kids something to play with that doesn't have a plug. They also live a very, very long time, serving as both a symbol of the past and the future.

Our project, like many others done through the years by Leadership Burbank, is a fundraising deal. We have two levels: $200 for a tree-level sponsorship, and $1,000 for a grove-level sponsorship. Participants will receive a certificate of appreciation from the city as well as having their names memorialized in our yet-to-be-planted Centennial Grove in Whitnall Highway Park North.

In keeping with the centennial, there will only be 100 sponsorships offered. So, if you're interested, it would probably be best to get on it. For more information, contact my classmate Rozan Mardozian at (818) 394-4225 or

Now, in the interest of full disclosure, know that the city will give residents and businesses shade trees free of charge. Burbank Water & Power's “Made in the Shade” program can be reached at (818) 957-8196.

So why pay? The proceeds from the “Leaf Your Legacy” program will go to planting and transportation costs, as well as the any costs for the certificates and memorials. Also, though the city will be able to provide us with a number of trees, we will have to pay for some of them.

If there is any money left, it will be given to Leadership Burbank or donated to another of the city's many — and deserving — non-profits.

Just so you know, I'm putting my money where my column is. I'm going to be sending in a check for the program as soon as I'm finished writing.

Again, in the spirit of full disclosure, this is not a completely altruistic move. The next time a city official or irate reader claims I'm trashing the town, I will now be able to stick out my tongue and point at my tree.

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Dan Evans is the editor. He can be reached at

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