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 >>

The LA River: From “Bad Dream” to Green

RickRabbins_Blog

Fed-up with the physical appearance of your neighborhood? Aching for a change? It’s simple, really; just jumpstart a stalled nonprofit! Meet Rick Rabins—husband, former jeweler, TreePeople Citizen Forester, and acting president of the nonprofit organization The Village Gardeners (his “full-time gig on the side”).

Rick Rabins’ story begins when he realized an oleander scorch disease was wiping out the plants in front of his house on the Los Angeles River. “After having a beautiful hedge like that….” he reflects, “having that deadwood—it’s like a bad dream.” Determined to reverse the process, he knocked on doors of his neighbors until one referred him to Annette Fuller—an original founder of what would become The Village Gardeners.… 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 >>

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 >>

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

SMMtsRestoration_AGuglielmi_IMG_6445_crop

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 >>

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.

JHtree_crop - Copy

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 >>

Greening Asphalt-Covered Schools: It Never Gets Old

VictoriaAveES_TreePlanting_4-27-2013_JAlvarezMTovares_DSCN2476-imp_sm-e1369332333957

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 >>