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Saratoga's Kate Bear: Caring for the Tree City USA

City arborist takes care of duties from cataloging all town trees to issuing permits for their removal.

As an official Tree City USA, Saratoga has its own arborist.

On a daily basis, full-time city arborist Kate Bear juggles many duties. She issues permits for tree removal and inspects residential and commercial construction sites near trees, helping put up a protective barrier around the tree if the building work proceeds.

“Saratoga is a mix of surburban and country landscapes up into the hills,” said Bear, a certified arborist for nearly 20 years. “It gives more variety to this job.”

Bear is also in the process of creating an inventory of all of the trees owned and maintained by the city, which she estimates to number around 7,000 to 8,000. She expects the cataloging of the trees -- which will include their type and value -- to be completed in six months to a year.

She is also helping promote the city’s “2015 by 2015” program, an initiative jump-started in 2010 to plant 2,015 trees by the year 2015.

About once a month, said Bear, she receives a call notifying her about someone who cut a tree down without a permit. The person is still required to acquire a much more costly permit after the fact, said Bear, and she uses the opportunity to educate them about tree care.

“A big part of this job is educating residents,” said Bear, who previously worked as an arborist for the San Jose Redevelopment Agency. She stepped into a full-time role as the city's arborist after it had previously used contractors, a practice typical for many cities around the Bay Area.

Saratoga residents can find more information about Saratoga, its trees, and procedures for tree removal on the city’s Tree Information and Permits page.

Sheila Sanchez November 20, 2012 at 06:50 PM
Nice to see a caring woman work so hard to preserve our local environment! Thanks for all your service, Kate Bear! Saratoga is a gorgeous community!
Michelle McIntyre November 21, 2012 at 09:26 PM
This job is extremely important in a city like Saratoga, a tree lover's paradise. Thanks for your hard work and dedication.

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