candersonCarolyn Gray Anderson

Carolyn Gray Anderson is an editor, writer, and nonprofit communications professional in Los Angeles. She volunteers regularly with Good Karma Gardens and at the Learning Garden at Venice High School, enjoying many a meal straight from the earth. She loves TreePeople almost as much as she loves trees.

All articles by canderson

 

TreePeople’s Ecological Restoration Team to the Rescue

Forty-five-acre Coldwater Canyon Park is home to TreePeople’s hilltop headquarters and the state-of-the-art Center for Community Forestry. Known to locals as a great hiking and dog-walking area, it’s one of the city’s valuable open spaces, and therefore home also to a myriad species of native plants and animals. As in other urban parks, though, its ecosystem is fragile and needs to be maintained.

TreePeople restores the park grounds with the help of a trained volunteer Ecological Restoration Team (ERT) that has evolved out of earlier teams of Americorps volunteers.… Read more >>

 

Keeping Memories of Trees Alive and Growing in L.A.

Did you grow up in Los Angeles? Can you remember what the streets and parks looked like when you were a small child? Is it hard to imagine what used to stand where a new mall or office building now looms?

For Josh, growth is measured by a pine tree in Van Nuys.

When Josh was in the first grade in the early 1980s, he went on a field trip to TreePeople with his class from the Open Magnet School. The memory was still vivid when he came to talk to us at our booth at an Earth Day event this year.… Read more >>

 

Fruit Trees Go Public

You’ll have read about and possibly visited the public park orchard planted at Del Aire Park that opened last fall. It’s a Los Angeles County Arts Commission-sponsored project of the artist group Fallen Fruit, famous locally for their neighborhood maps of fruit-bearing trees accessible in public rights of way and the “fruit jams” they hold in L.A. museums and galleries. Like artist Fritz Haeg’s Edible Estates, the Del Aire Fruit Tree Park acquaints the neighborhood with the notion of growing food in front, where everyone can see it and, better, eat it.… Read more >>

 

Become a Citizen Arborist and Lead Your Community to Action

TreePeople’s Citizen Arborist program is designed to train and produce a trusted network of community members who help keep our trees healthy and thriving. Certified Citizen Arborists are expert volunteers who support their neighborhoods in caring for their local trees. They are on the front lines of growing a healthy urban forest and improving the environment of Los Angeles. Peter Diep, who was recognized with TreePeople’s Volunteer of the Year award, led his first street tree care event right after earning his official Citizen Arborist status in the fall of 2012.… Read more >>

 

Namaste, Girl-Karma!

If what goes around comes around, then the group Girl-Karma can expect major Earth Day kudos for its members’ commitment to improving environmental health. Our wonderful volunteer Michelle Moy talked about her experience planting trees with TreePeople for the group’s Karma in Action column. She wanted to share what she learned about the benefits of trees, in order to inspire other young women to be agents for change, in their city and for their planet.

Michelle learned, among other things, that people are as important to the health of the urban forest as trees are.… Read more >>

 

Planting Fruit Trees in Food Deserts

The USDA Economic Research Service publishes the Food Environment Atlas to document, county by county throughout the United States, the percentage of households with limited access to grocery stores—and therefore to adequate nutrition. The interactive map aims to provide a spatial overview of communities’ abilities to access healthy food, but, so far, it doesn’t allow users to drill down to the level of neighborhoods.

In Los Angeles County, known “food deserts” include areas of South L.A. and the Northeast San Fernando Valley.… Read more >>

 

Tiny Pests Pose Big Threats to Native Trees

You won’t see it if you’re not looking for it, but you’ll know it was there. No bigger than a baby’s fingernail, the gold-spotted oak borer (GSOB) can devastate a 300-year-old oak tree that has withstood storms and quakes and even the quick and astounding rise of urban pollution in the 20th century. But if individual trees were all that was at stake, the oak borer wouldn’t pose such a threat. The truth is, this invasive pest could wipe out every native oak in California.… Read more >>

 

From the Battlefield to Farm Fields

America needs one million new farmers; returning war veterans need jobs.

Enter Ground Operations, the new documentary that follows vets who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan only to face a daunting transition back to civilian life. As filmmakers Dulanie Ellis and Raymond Singer show, organic food production is creating a restorative road home. Working with soil, plants, and animals, veterans de-escalate from the high velocity of combat in a revitalizing natural setting. “I realized I could be a nurturer instead of a destroyer, and that was a significant realization for me,” says a Marine.… Read more >>

 

Human Help Needed to Restore Nature to the Angeles Forest

The devastating Station Fire of 2009 destroyed 160,000 acres of wilderness in the Angeles National Forest in the mountains surrounding Los Angeles—and fully 11,000 of those acres burned too deep in the soil for natural seed regeneration. So every season TreePeople and the U.S. Forest Service need lots of extra hands to help plant trees while the soil conditions and temperature are optimal.

We’re in the third planting season with our partners at Forest Aid: Angeles. To meet our 2013 goal we must plant 5,000 more seedlings than last year—for a total of 15,000 new trees.… Read more >>

 

How TreePeople Catches Every Drop

Is Los Angeles a desert? Our city gets about 15 inches of rainfall annually, slightly more precipitation than, say, Missoula, Montana (though we have fewer days per year that are considered “wet”). Did you know this is enough to serve a fairly large population and irrigate its urban greenery?

But every time it rains an inch in the city of L.A., 3.8 billion gallons of runoff are sent to sea, sweeping trash, toxins, and bacteria into waterways and polluting our beaches and ocean.… Read more >>

 

Not your typical field trip: 500 students win a chance to replant the Angeles National Forest

Students from 10 Los Angeles area middle and high schools learned this week that they were winners of sponsored field trips to the Angeles National Forest to help restore fire-damaged areas of one of Los Angeles County’s largest preserved open space.

The Facebook-based contest TreeByTree was a collaboration between TreePeople and Edison International. On a weekly basis, students from 17 schools posted photos of sustainability-minded projects they spearheaded, from recycling programs to tree plantings to converting a vintage VW Bug to electric.… Read more >>

 

Learn How to Get Your Landscape Really Green

You may have noticed that some years in Los Angeles County are wetter—or drier—than others. And in wet years you may also have noticed a lot of unfiltered water rushing off paved surfaces, into storm drains, and out to sea carrying whatever pollutants it washes over. So, not only are we losing water that could be captured for local use or returned to the ground for irrigation, we’re failing to clean it up before it enters our waterways.

But did you know that even in times of drought, what little moisture falls from the sky can be harvested and put to use?… Read more >>

 

Like it or not, you DO make a difference

“You are never in neutral,” TreePeople founder Andy Lipkis tells environmental leader Huey Johnson, in an interview about how we all affect the environment. “People say [to me], ‘I love what you do because you show that people can make a difference.’” The truth is, people do make a difference, Andy says. And it comes in the form of every step we take, every penny we spend, in all the ways we move through the world.

Growing up in the 1960s in a severely polluted Los Angeles, Andy realized that we have to embrace the notion that even the smallest contribution—whether planting a single tree or shutting off the tap when you brush your teeth—does make a positive difference.… Read more >>

 

Check Off Your Unbucket List

Just when you thought you didn’t need another to-do list in your life, Unbucket launches to encourage your list to grow. With Unbucket, you can to expand your to-do list in the direction of the things—outdoor activities, charitable causes, learning opportunities, intellectual pursuits—you’re most passionate about.

Unbucket is an app for sharing lists of things to experience with the people you care about most. TreePeople compiled a list of Simple Steps to Grow a Greener City that invites you to make an immediate contribution to enhancing the urban forest by planting a new tree with your neighbors or getting the kids involved in setting up a rain barrel to catch runoff for irrigating your outdoor plants.… Read more >>

 

Grow a Food Forest in a Food Desert

The term “food desert” describes an urban community that lacks access to fresh, healthy food in local shops and grocery stores. These are regions in our city where, for various reasons, neighborhood retailers can’t or don’t stock produce and healthful alternatives to processed fast food.

In Inglewood’s “100 Seeds of Change” initiative, residents have taken health matters into their own hands, growing fruits and vegetables themselves—and in temperate Los Angeles, they can turn even a small patch of earth into a food forest.… Read more >>

 

Vote for a local school’s environmental initiatives and send students to the mountains to restore fire-damaged forest

Starting January 9, students from 17 Los Angeles area middle and high schools will compete in TreeByTree, a social media campaign to win a field trip to help restore fire-damaged wilderness. You can support them by logging on to Facebook over the next five weeks and voting as often as once a day for your favorite environmental initiatives these students are spearheading.

TreePeople and Southern California Edison (SCE) have partnered in creating TreeByTree to support environmental stewardship among local youth.… Read more >>

 

A Native Re-Greening for TreePeople’s Cistern

Park operations director Jim Hardie calls it the “grasscrete circle”—also known as the TreePeople cistern, a 216,000-gallon underground storage tank, where we save rainwater filtered and collected from rooftops and the Parking Grove. The stored water irrigates TreePeople’s grounds in the warm months. For the past four years, the circle has been planted with wildflowers, which look gorgeous but require regular weeding. Jim is excited about a low-maintenance alternative called purple needlegrass or Stipa pulchra or Nassala pulchra—the official state grass of California!… Read more >>

 

The Soil Solution

Soil is as vital to environmental health as the plants that grow in it. If you watched the latest Ken Burns documentary, The Dust Bowl, or if your forebears settled in California because they had to flee the ruined soil of the Midwest, then you know what Burns means by “the worst man-made ecological disaster in American history.” It was a swift, government-encouraged depletion of previously fertile cropland, where nature and people had once cooperated fairly well.

Likewise, when we pave every patch of green in our cities, we undo the perfect systems that nature takes so long to create.… Read more >>