Planting Event Restores Native Sonoran Desert Landscaping at Superstition Springs Transit Center

November 15, 2023 at 2:37 pm

The City of Mesa, community partners and volunteers planted trees and shrubs as part of a landscape restoration event on Nov. 14 to bring more shade and environmental improvements to the Superstition Springs Transit Center. Located along the highly traveled US60 in Mesa, this center is the regional commuter hub and handles hundreds of passengers daily.

"One of the best ways for Mesa to make progress on our Climate Action goals is through community engagement, the fourth pillar of our plan," said Mayor John Giles. "Events like this, where the public and private sectors come together to plant more trees, are a great example of how we can work together toward a sustainable future for Mesa. Including students from Mesa High School in this project creates a lasting legacy."

Over 60 volunteers from Meta, Mesa High School, Valley Metro and the Superstition Springs Center joined Mayor John Giles, Councilmember Scott Somers and Councilmember Julie Spilsbury at the event. A generous donation from Meta helped to fund the planting of 108 low-water-use trees in support of the city's Trees Are Cool initiative and 72 shrubs and groundcovers, including milkweed and other pollinator-friendly plants, in support of the National Wildlife Federation's Mayors' Monarch Pledge.

To accomplish Mesa's climate action goals, the City recognizes the necessity of partnering with all members throughout the community.

"We are counting on our businesses and corporations to help us build a greener and cleaner Mesa," said Councilmember Scott Somers. "We greatly appreciate Meta's investment and support of this impactful community project."

Meta, who is building a state-of-the-art data center in East Mesa, is committed to supporting the community through volunteering and partnering with local schools, nonprofits and other organizations.

"Meta is proud to call Mesa home and is committed to the long-term vitality of the East Valley," said David Williams, community development manager. "Sustainability initiatives like Trees Are Cool are a great way to bring people together and benefit Mesa residents and wildlife for years to come."

Mesa High School environmental students who volunteered for the project were first introduced to the benefits of public transit, urban trees and wildlife habitat restoration through classroom activities. The students were provided an opportunity to experience public transit first-hand by taking a Valley Metro bus to the planting event where they joined community leaders, volunteers and local businesses.

"This opportunity has given students a chance to get outside the classroom and learn the impact they can have when they work together as a team," said Jenny Robinson, Environmental Science teacher at Mesa High School. "Working together with others who share the same goals for a healthy future empowers students to take ownership in their own community."

The Arizona Sustainability Alliance (AZSA), one of Mesa's non-profit partners, managed the planting project and volunteer efforts on behalf of Meta. AZSA is committed to protecting our environment and promoting sustainable living through civic engagement, collaboration and education.

This project supports several key City of Mesa initiatives: Improving transit opportunities and mobility, the Trees Are Cool initiative and the Mayors' Monarch Pledge. Planting trees to provide shade and reduce the impacts of greenhouse gas supports the City's Climate Action Plan in the areas of Heat Mitigation, Air Quality, Energy Efficiency and Water Stewardship. Finally, this project supports the City Council's strategic priorities of a Sustainable Environment and Neighborhoods and Placemaking.

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