Celebrating 100 years at Garden Fest

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Patricia Rocha, Reporter

By Patricia Rocha

Reporter

Students, faculty, community members and their families all came out to this year’s Garden Fest for a day of botany-themed fun. Though there were plenty of vendors, demonstrations and many children’s activities, the real star of the show was the planting of the 100th tree in honor of Bakersfield College’s centennial celebration.

The idea for planting 100 new trees on campus was Vice-President Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg’s initially, and she said she was pleased with the way it finally turned out.

“I didn’t think it would be this big,” said Gomez-Heitzeberg about the celebration. “As we were talking about 100 years I just kept saying, ‘we have to leave something behind for the next 100 years,’ so every meeting I went to I think I said,  ‘don’t forget those trees, don’t forget those trees, don’t forget those trees,’ so today, to see this one planted, is a big deal.”

She says the real big deal is how volunteers and organizations helped make this possible, and how this act of generosity will be a lasting one.

“Think of all the people that helped plan the other 99,” she said. “It took a lot of people to get this done. They really stepped up from the community to help support us so we could make this happen.”

The 100th tree; is a live oak, which is a symbol of strength and is usually planted in historical cities.

“I was looking at a little kid who was here earlier, just a baby, and I thought, you’re going to be here at BC [someday] and you’ll see that oak grow,” said Gomez-Heitzeberg.

Retired BC professor Dale Gradek, who attends Garden Fest every year to help attendees with their garden and planting questions, agreed that this live oak is a great tree to represent BC’s history and future.

“The live oak grows very well,” Gradek said of the tree, which can live up to be 200 years and older. “It’s a native California tree…it’s an evergreen, and it keeps its leaves all year long.”

College president Sonya Christian said it was an amazing feeling to be back at BC for it’s centennial, particularly at this event.

“I met many of my old friends when I was here as a faculty member, and these individuals retired, but they came back to BC,” Christian said. “Some are not even living in the area but they made sure they came here for the Garden Fest.”

She said it was her understanding that this was the largest turnout BC has ever had for this event.