South L.A. Parents Learn to “Prune” Back Asphalt and Bring Nature to Urban School Yards

Linda Eremita demonstrates pruning techniques at San Pedro Elementary. Photo: Neil Sashidharan

On a typical hot, smoggy Los Angeles school day, hundreds of children at South L.A. schools no longer have to broil in unshaded asphalt-covered school yards. Through TreePeople’s School Greening Initiative, South L.A. parents are being trained and supported to transform their children’s campuses into shadier, leafier, cooler—even food-producing—places to learn and play.

In early December, 25 area parents attended a half-day TreePeople workshop at San Pedro Elementary School—one of L.A.’s oldest and most urban campuses. There they learned how to prune fruit trees and organize community tree care teams to nurture the trees in their neighborhoods.

These parents are taking what they learned back to their schools, with dreams of eventually harvesting rainwater and planting tree groves, “learning gardens,” “food forests,” butterfly and bird zones, and more. Research shows that access to nature directly affects children’s health and learning. These parents have found a powerful way to improve the future—one small school green space at a time.

For more information on TreePeople’s School Greening Initiative, visit www.treepeople.org/schoolgreening.

Linda Eremita, a certified arborist through the International Society of Arboriculture, has been a staff member of TreePeople since 1998. In her current role as Forestry Education Manager and Senior Arborist, Linda designs and leads our urban forestry workshops, training volunteer leaders to create a sustainable L.A. Linda loves growing her own food and being outdoors in general.