Bosque Urbano is a huge vivero (plant nursery) situated at the northeastern corner of Guadalajara’s Colomos Park and responsible for the planting of thousands of trees per week, all around the city.
Curiously, the tree-planting project was born thanks to the huge 2005 forest fire in Bosque la Primavera, just west of town. The disaster spurred an organization of ex-journalists called “Extra” to get involved in tree planting, which, in turn, brought to their attention the fact that Guadalajara falls pitifully short of being a “green city,” meaning an urban area with three trees for every inhabitant. Thus was born Extra’s Bosque Urbano project in 2007.
To learn all about this project, I went to the office of Bosque Urbano’s new director, Karina Aguilar, located beneath a grove of the tallest Casuarina trees I’ve ever seen anywhere.
“We would like to turn Guadalajara into an Urban Forest,” she told me. “But we are realistic, so our first goal is simply to get one tree planted for every inhabitant of the city. So far, over the last ten years, we have given away two million trees, but greater Guadalajara has a population of about five million, so we still have a way to go.”
Aguilar continued: “To get people involved in the project we developed the idea of adopting a tree, just as you might adopt a child. So, first we help you pick the tree by providing you with technical information: this tree needs lots of sunshine and is suitable for planting along sidewalks, that one is ideal for a small patio, this other can be grown in a pot. Once someone has chosen a tree, we ask them for data about themselves and where they will plant it. Why? Because we want to follow the story of this tree, to make sure it is cared for and thrives. Nobody else in the world does this and that is why our ‘tree survival rate’ is unusually high!”
Aguilar said the trees handed out by Bosque Urbano all contain QR Codes.
“This means your tree is unique and is linked with your name and we can follow its history. In fact, every week we follow up on 300 trees we gave away.”
And that’s not all that’s going on at Bosque Urbano. Besides gifting trees, they hold workshops on a variety of subjects under titles such as “Urban Gardens,” the Living Pharmacy,” “Sprouts,” “Hydroponics” and “Natural Cosmetics,” to name a few.
According to Aguilar, Bosque Urbano distributes 5,000 trees a week, slowly moving toward the goal of one tree per person in Guadalajara.
“That is still far from the worldwide goal of three trees per person, but it’s a beginning,” she said. “Come see us and give one of our trees a home!”
Bosque Urbano is open Tuesday to Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and Sundays 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Closed Mondays. The entrance is at Avenida Patria 1000, 100 meters past the Colomos Park entrance. You can take home up to two trees, but you must bring along with you a copy of a “comprobante de domicilio” (proof of where you live), such as a utility bill. For more information, call (33) 3123-1647 or check out bosqueurbanoextra.org.mx.