Takeda California and the San Diego River Park Foundation plants 2,000 trees in Santee

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Native Coast Live Oak, scrub oak, Engelmann Oak, laurel sumac, cottonwood, sycamore, lemonade berry and elderberry trees line the banks of the Walker Preserve in Santee thanks to more than 200 volunteers. Sponsored by Takeda California (TCAL), employees, families and friends joined efforts to help benefit the San Diego River Park Foundation on Monday, Jan. 20, as part of a day of service in commemoration of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

Native Coast Live Oak, scrub oak, Engelmann Oak, laurel sumac, cottonwood, sycamore, lemonade berry and elderberry trees line the banks of the Walker Preserve in Santee thanks to more than 200 volunteers. Sponsored by Takeda California (TCAL), employees, families and friends joined efforts to help benefit the San Diego River Park Foundation on Monday, Jan. 20, as part of a day of service in commemoration of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

Keith Wilson, TCAL president and chief science officer said Takeda believes in helping people and society, and though their day job is designing new medicines.

“It takes a long time to design new medicines, about three years,” he said. “In the meanwhile we like to find things that we can do in a few hours that have a measurable impact in the community.”

Wilson said two years ago, they brainstormed on how to help the local environment and came up with the idea to plant more trees than it uses up in paper in a year. He said the calculated it and it was off by a factor of 10, so the original number of 1,999 trees consumed so they planted 2,000. The calculation was really only 199 trees, so they decided to go with 10 to 20 times the amount of trees for a second year in a row. He said it is normally a workday for employees, but they were invited to come out and help out with the planting for the day.

“Repairing the landscape and preparing something for our future is something that is important to the company and its employees,” he said.

Richard Dhu, program manager for the San Diego River Park Foundation said the organization is dedicated to advocating for the 52-mile park system along the San Diego River and restoring the river back to a healthy state.

“We have been around since 2001 and work towards engaging the community, working with governments and different organizations to establish the park system.”

He said its partner, Takeda, has come back to work with them for its fifth year for its corporate sponsored community service day, and said working with the City of Santee, was able to help refurbish, beautify and promote the new river trail at the Walker Preserve, a former sand mining site.

“So that is what we are doing,” he said. “It’s a beautiful day out here, and the opportunity to actually restore part of the river, its health and ecosystem by installing proper plants and creating the newest river park section for the citizens of Santee.”

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