Tech teams with Urban Forest to plant trees in SF 

click to enlarge Hugo Romano | Hayley Decker
  • Courtesy Pat Blute
  • UberConference’s Hugo Romano, left, and Hayley Decker work on planting a tree. UberConference began a movement to plant 120 trees and convert sidewalk into natural ground.

San Francisco's withering urban forestry has found a new friend, and it's none other than the disruptors in the local tech community.

About a dozen employees of UberConference, a San Francisco-based audio conferencing product built by the teams behind Google Voice and Yahoo! Voice, volunteered with Friends of the Urban Forest in April to plant street trees in the Mission.

The venture sprouted #TechPlantsSF, a drive to raise $15,000 from tech companies and individuals who work in the industry to plant some 120 trees and convert about 1,500 square feet of concrete sidewalk into natural ground.

Tech workers from UberConference, Google, Twitter, Dropbox, YouTube and Yammer had raised $2,351 as of Thursday morning.

"One of the reasons we launched #TechPlantsSF is we are looking to educate the tech community as to the status of the urban forest in San Francisco, seeing if they can help address these issues," said Dan Flanagan, executive director of Friends of the Urban Forest. "We're allowing them to put down roots in San Francisco."

The City's urban forestry has declined in the past couple of years. Despite its green-forward movement, San Francisco has only 13.7 percent tree canopy coverage, ranking 17th among the 20 most populous U.S. cities, Flanagan said.

There are 105,000 street trees citywide and the yearly mortality rate is 4,000, while about 2,700 are being planted per year. Additionally, The City is releasing 21,000 trees to homeowners for lack of resources to take care of them.

Fundraising for #TechPlantsSF will continue through the end of September and planting will kick off Sept. 5 on streets in the Castro, Noe Valley and Outer Sunset and at sidewalk gardens in the Bayview.

"It's important to us that we make San Francisco as pleasant a place to live as possible," said Jeanne DeWitt, chief revenue officer for


About The Author

Jessica Kwong

Jessica Kwong

Jessica Kwong covers transportation, housing, and ethnic communities, among other topics, for the San Francisco Examiner. She covered City Hall as a fellow for the San Francisco Chronicle, night cops and courts for the San Antonio Express-News, general news for Spanish-language newspapers La Opinión and El Mensajero,... more
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