Not Enough Water, L.A.? Look Up.

I am excited to announce that today’s edition of the Los Angeles Times carries a timely Op-Ed that I wrote titled, “Not enough water, L.A.? Look up.

Did Mulholland Get it Wrong?

Nearly one hundred years ago today, William Mulholland stood before a crowd of 40,000 near San Fernando and unfurled an American flag, signaling the official opening of the Los Angeles Aqueduct. As water from the Owens Valley rushed through the spillway for the first time, Mulholland exulted to the assembled onlookers, “There it is.… Read more >>

Learning from Australia’s Drought: TreePeople Draws Lessons From Down Under

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In 2012, TreePeople began an exchange between government, research and community organizations in Australia and Southern California. The aim of the program: to share innovations, best practices and experience in urban rainwater capture, water conservation practices and drought response—topics that are increasingly relevant as the climate of the American Southwest (and beyond) changes for the drier.

Why Australia?

Australia experienced several devastatingly dry episodes in the last 100 years. The most recent—called the “Millennium Drought”—started in 1997 and continued through 2010, and brought the country’s longest period of rainfall shortage on record.… Read more >>

Forbes Features TreePeople’s Water Work

Sun Valley Watershed Plan

Our “sound bite” name of TreePeople is misleading. What we do goes way beyond trees. A recent article in Forbes describes the deeper side of our work, which is about building Los Angeles’ next water supply.

Trees are inextricably linked to water—capturing, cleansing and storing rainwater and protecting us from drought and floods. As such, they are an essential part of our city’s infrastructure. Not the built, costly, man-made “gray” infrastructure, but infrastructure that is green and living.

Read on (and catch our short video!) to see how investing in local water through investing in trees and other green infrastructure can grow our local economy.… Read more >>

The Tree-Water Connection at One Water Leadership Summit, September 23 – 26

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Even though our name is TreePeople, our organization is as focused on the city’s watershed as we are on its individual trees. After all, the forest has always been nature’s water supply and pollution clean-up system. I’ll be shedding light on how that works in Los Angeles—and the many benefits to our environment, community and economy—when I speak at the One Water Leadership Summit in Los Angeles, September 23-26. I’m looking forward to this chance to engage in the national dialogue on water and the urban environment and share some of the lessons from TreePeople’s work in building the new local water supply for our city.… Read more >>

No Need to Plant-Sit These California Natives

Black Sage and Flannelbush, photos by Donnella Anderson

Going on vacation? Trying to find someone to care for your garden while you’re away? Well, this amazing duo of SoCal natives goes on vacay with you, as they need almost no water in the summer. Black sage and Flannel bush will lounge around your garden, perfectly blending with the beautiful and laid-back vibe of the SoCal summer. So take your time off and come back home to a garden that will look as fab as you do!

Black sage (Salvia mellifera)
Evergreen shrub, California native measuring 5’ tall and 5’ wide.… Read more >>

Words of Praise from a Conservation Leader

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At TreePeople we’re all about partnerships. From the U.S. Forest Service to the Mountains Restoration Trust to the Social Justice Learning Institute to city and county government agencies, professionals and organizations give us reasons every day to stand in awe of the individuals and groups willing to work together toward improving the health of our trees and local environment.

When those we admire laud us in return, it always gives us a boost! Meet Rosi Dagit, a well-known biologist and certified arborist with the Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains. Rosi’s conservation projects reach from Malibu Lagoon to Antarctica and benefit mountains, oceans, sea life, and people living at the wildland-urban interface.… Read more >>

Greening Asphalt-Covered Schools: It Never Gets Old

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When I walked into the school office, armed with my spray paint and tape measure, I was greeted by Jorge Alvarez, one of the Victoria Avenue Elementary School Green Team members. “Are we marking the asphalt today?” You would’ve thought it was Christmas, the way his face lit up when I said yes. “Let me come with you,” he volunteered.

We walked together, marking the corners of the tree wells, measuring, and all the while starting to “see” the trees. “Won’t it be great when the kids come out that door and a tree will be the first thing they see ahead of them on the playground?” asked Jorge.… Read more >>

Fruit Trees Go Public

Photo: Vahagn Karapetyan

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 >>

Parking Lot Cool

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In these recent unseasonably hot days, have you noticed the heat radiating off blacktop? Black asphalt traps heat and releases it back into our cities. “But who said streets had to be black?” asked Ben Schiller, staff writer at Co.Exist. They pointed to Lawrence Berkeley Lab’s showcase of alternative paving surfaces to demonstrate how a parking lot alone can measure 40 degrees cooler if it’s lighter in color. In Los Angeles, you can visit TreePeople’s Center for Communitiy Forestry at our Coldwater Canyon Park headquarters to see this effect in action.… Read more >>

It’s Raining! It’s Pouring!

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On average, Los Angeles gets only a quarter of an inch of rainfall in May. And yet… This year—a very dry one at that—we got a full inch of rain with the last storm. That bit of rainfall not only helped squelch the wildfires (which had an earlier than usual start this year), but it took this season from being the 4th driest to the 7th driest winter on record.

And while that may still seem pretty dire, here’s some hope: That rain was harvested at TreePeople’s headquarters, and is now stored in our cistern to use as supplemental landscape irrigation this summer.… Read more >>