Volunteers Give Heart to Our Work

Volunteer Appreciation Celebration and Awards Ceremony at Coldwater Canyon Park

Trees need people. People need trees. And TreePeople counts on volunteers year-round. We appreciate the countless hours of hard work done by thousands of volunteers each year, but the value of volunteers to this organization goes far beyond the sweat hours put in every weekend. From friendly smiles to funny moments, and patient teachings to shared passions, volunteers give heart to our work.

On August 29, 60 dedicated volunteers came together for our Volunteer Appreciation Celebration and Awards Ceremony at Coldwater Canyon Park.… Read more >>

An Emerald Canopy Shades the Blacktop

Sheila Newmark

It is difficult to imagine what Hancock Park Elementary School, just two blocks from the busy intersection of Fairfax Avenue and Third Street, would look like without its luscious greenery. Tree canopies scattered throughout the grounds provide refuge from the sizzling blacktop and seem to uplift the vibrant little school from its urban environment. Tall surrounding buildings seem less oppressive as the arboreal shelter provides children with breaths of fresh air.

This is precisely the hopeful vision that TreePeople Citizen Forester  Sheila Newmark strove for when she decided to plant 88 trees at the school site in November of 1998.… Read more >>

They Feel at Home: Two Treepeople Summer Interns

Jessica Haren & Stephanie Nelson

Last week, I told the story of my journey from third grade TreeKid to TreePeople storytelling intern. This week, we’re going back to Yurt Village to hear the story of two more seasoned TreeLadies. Meet Jessica Haren and Stephanie Nelson—summer Landscape Design and Development interns, respectively.

Jessica, a Landscape Architecture student at UCLA Extension, works with TreePeople’s Sustainable Solutions Director Lisa Cahill to design learning gardens that students, parents and teachers can plant to green their schoolyards through TreePeople’s School Greening Initiative.… Read more >>

The Magic of That First Planting Day

Roger Klemm

At the now-verdant Hansen Dam Recreation Center in Sylmar, Roger Klemm approached “his” trees for the first time in nearly two decades since planting them. The sight of their tremendous growth brought a look of wonder to his face. Thirty-nine mature trees now thrive at the site of this TreePeople planting; they both accent the landscape with shade and enhance its biodiversity.

When he first visited the area many years ago, Roger was surprised at how bare the surrounding land seemed to be.… Read more >>

Head Up to the Mountains with TreePeople: Thirsty Seedlings Need Our Help

Photo by David Cassell

Seedlings are growing and thriving at Chilao Flats in the Angeles National Forest thanks to hundreds of TreePeople volunteers who planted them earlier this year. This is an important and beloved mountain area that was devastated by the 2009 Station Fire, and we’re helping bring the forest back for all who depend on it.

Volunteers are needed to give these young trees the water and mulch they need to survive the hot, dry summer. Sign-up for Angeles Forest Restoration on August 24.… Read more >>

A TreePeople Intern’s Deep Roots

Emma Schiffer - Young and Old

As a nearly lifelong Treeperson, I have responses for all the usual questions about my Treepeople volunteering. To the question, “So, you hug trees, right?” I answer, “Of course! But not as part of my work.” To the question, “So, you guys are people made of trees?” I respond, “You know ‘connecting with your roots’ is just an expression, right?”

I’ve had plenty of time to perfect these responses; I’ve been involved with Treepeople since I was nine. The road to my position this summer as a storytelling and photography management intern in Treepeople’s Yurt Village (“What’s a yurt?” I’m asked, “Is it an animal?”) started with a few bags of popcorn and a class full of chipper third graders.… Read more >>

“When I find something that I like…I dive in head first,” Amelia Litz, TreePeople Volunteer

Amelia Litz - Outreach Volunteer of the Year 2012

Three years ago, Amelia Litz was looking for something to do after high school. This South Dakota native knew she wanted to get into something “environmental sciency,” but she didn’t know exactly what. She then found TreePeople through a Google search and has never looked back. “When I moved out here, I decided the best way to explore my options was to volunteer,” Amelia explains. “TreePeople makes it really easy for you to get involved.”

Amelia works primarily in the Santa Monica Mountains.… Read more >>

“I don’t get anything out of it except saving the world,” Mary Miasnik, TreePeople Volunteer

Mary Miasnik

As a lifelong Angeleno, Mary remembers a time when she could ride her bike anywhere she wanted and nobody had to worry about where their children were. A time when nothing interesting happened except for an earthquake in 1933. “It was very peaceful, very ordinary,” she recalls of her upbringing.

Then, in the late 70s, some terrible weather brought the threat of mudslides to her neighborhood. The residents could see a hill begin to ominously slump over. “We knew there was a problem when we saw the mud in the gutter water,” she remembers.… Read more >>

“I’ve learned some very good leadership skills,” Xavier Cervantes, TreePeople Volunteer

Xavier-Cervantes-e1372798699981

In many ways, Xavier Cervantes is your typical 14-year-old.  He’s a freshman in high school, he loves to go camping, and if he could spend a day in the life of any famous person, it would be funny-man George Lopez.

But if you ask him for his thoughts on our current environmental crisis, he sounds downright philosophical: “Great things don’t happen overnight, but where we begin to plant seeds, trees will grow.”

His proudest moment with TreePeople was his very first tree planting.… Read more >>

Not Your Momma’s Fire Season

Santa Monica Mountain Restoration

Fire season is a part of LA, right?  Like earthquakes and off-the-rails movie stars, if we’ve survived them once we can do it again, right?  Wrong.

The problem is that with the climate changing, things are getting more intense.  This is not your momma’s fire season.

Southern California is in its seventh driest year on record.  This year’s January-through-March time period was the driest for LA, EVER.  Those three months of rain are crucial for us.  With almost no rainfall at the beginning of the year, the moisture content of plants in our local hills and mountains is already very low.… Read more >>