A tree was planted Thursday in honor of Dr. Richard Schneider, recognizing him for his successful one-year term in office as the City of South Pasadena’s mayor.
The celebration took place in the South Pasadena Library Park, witnessed by dignitaries, residents and those coming and going to the nearby farmers’ market.
Schneider, who served at mayor during 2018, recently handed over the reigns to Dr. Marina Khubesrian and will remain as a member of the City Council.
“Dr. Schneider and I sat down more than a year ago – in late 2017 – to talk about what his priorities would be as mayor for 2018,” South Pasadena City Manager Stephanie DeWolfe told the gathering witnessing the tree planting.
Schneider doesn’t hide the fact he’s a lover of trees.
“Specifically, Dr. Schneider spoke about the need to preserve, protect and expand South Pasadena’s tree canopy,” noted the city manager. “He talked with a lot of passion about the city’s trees and what they bring to our community, including beauty, cleaner air and a sense of pride.”
In the past, the city has always presented a gift to outgoing mayors as a way of thanking them for their service. “We decided to do something different this year with a tree planting,” explained DeWolfe. “When it came time to recognize Dr. Schneider for a successful year as the mayor of South Pasadena, it seemed perfect to have a tree planting in his honor.”
City Council members seem supportive in making it a yearly tradition.
“We’ve gotten such positive feedback,” noted DeWolfe, “that I believe this will continue in future years. When you think about it, this tree is a gift to the outgoing mayor and a gift to the community.”
The tree, as the city manager pointed out, is a living symbol of Dr. Schneider’s service to the community.
“It shows how the work we do today can take root, grow, and benefit future generations,” said DeWolfe, who thanked Schneider, on behalf of city staff, for his leadership and service as last year’s mayor.
Khubesrian, in the current mayoral role, noted that South Pasadena, as a City of Trees, has traditionally earned official “Tree City USA” designation. “Not surprisingly, a tree is the central image of the City logo,” she said. “The city is not only well known and appreciated for its verdant canopy of trees, the Library Park is adorned with more than 20 different species of trees.
Even though trees selflessly offer so much to our lives they, like all living things, do not live forever. Many of the trees of the city’s past are now gone due to the passage of time, drought, changing weather conditions and other factors. Thankfully, many more trees are still living and growing with us each day to shade, shelter, protect, and beautify our surroundings.”
The mayor stressed the city needs to continually plant new trees, noting, the tree planting ceremony was for an important new member of the South Pasadena tree family—an Englemann Oak (Quercus engelmaniii), a species of white oak, which are also native to Southern California and northwestern Baja California, Mexico.
“I chose it because it’s native to this area,” said Schneider, adding that he was honored to be associated with a tree as his gift. “They used to be more common but many were cut down because of development. It’s an endangered species and I just wanted to preserve it in this area.”
Trees, according to Schneider, embody all the characteristics that human beings admire. “They’re strong, they’re solid, upright, quiet most of the time; they grow up, and are all beautiful,” he said. “There are a lot of advantages to having trees in the city. They provide beauty, shade and clean the air. You can’t go wrong by having a tree. I’m proud that we have this new tradition.”