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Group Braves Elements to Plant Trees on CSUNday

April 12, 1999

Despite light rainfall and a brisk breeze, about 50 people braved the elements Sunday afternoon to attend the first CSUNday in the Grove at Cal State Northridge.

The festival was held to celebrate the area's history as an orange-growing region and the school's 40th anniversary with a tree planting ceremony, games and a petting zoo.

The university's Save the Grove Committee--a group of students, faculty and staff--successfully fought efforts last year to turn a six-acre orange grove on the campus into a parking lot.

"Preserving the orange groves is important, because it's part of the area's history," said Temeika Hall, 23, event chairwoman.

The first orange trees were planted at the site in 1929 by the Halverson family. The grove was declared a historical landmark by the school in April 1972 and now has more than 600 trees on it.

Seven additional orange trees were planted Sunday afternoon--one for each decade of the grove's existence. Those planting the trees included outgoing university President Blenda J. Wilson, state Sen. Cathie Wright (R-Simi Valley) and members of the CSUN women's basketball team. The participants wore yellow raincoats as they dug into the earth with gold-plated shovels.

Umbrellas popped open and people ran for cover when the light drizzle intensified, but no amount of moisture kept the Tyler family from visiting the festival's petting zoo.

"We're really having fun" said Lisa Tyler, 40, of Northridge watching her husband, Scott, and daughter, Sarah, 16 months, play with the goats and sheep. "Sarah loves animals, so we try to go anywhere there are some for her to play with."

Bill Robinson and his family huddled under a large beach umbrella to stay dry and ate hot dogs to stay warm.

"We're freezing to death, but we're having fun," said Robinson, 65, of Northridge. "If the rain wasn't so cold, it would be a lot more refreshing."

Parts of the Valley received as much as an inch of rainfall Sunday, according to Jonathan Slemmer, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

There is a 30% chance of scattered showers this morning, and things should dry out by this afternoon.

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