Election Day: A Watershed Moment?

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On this day when the people of Los Angeles will choose the next mayor, a leader who will be called on to prepare our city for the severe weather that is forecast for our future, including droughts and floods, it is heartening for me to reflect on what we learned from our Dutch colleagues during the Room for the River: Los Angeles  symposium cosponsored by TreePeople May 16–17.

In the Netherlands, they have taken very seriously and responded to the threats posed by climate change to their urban populations, threats that include severe flooding and water shortages.… 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 >>

No, Sticky Monkeyflower Is Not a Trendy Tropical Drink

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As much as you might want to order a Sticky Monkeyflower from your favorite mixologist, you won’t have luck. To get something with this fun of a name, you’ll have to head to your favorite California native plant nursery (try Theodore Payne Foundation or Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden’s Grow Native Nursery).

Monkeys may not be native to California, but Sticky Monkeyflower, or Bush Monkeyflower (Mimulus aurantiacus and cultivars), is. This evergreen shrub grows to be 2–3’ tall and 2–3’ wide.… Read more >>

Free Workshops on Landscape Transformation, this Saturday, May 4

Photo: Laura Velkei

Got plans for Saturday morning? If not, then come up to TreePeople and attend one of our free quarterly workshops on how to transform your home and neighborhood landscapes. You’ll learn everything you ever wanted to know about rain water harvesting, replacing a lawn with native plants, or planting trees—but were afraid to ask. Learn how you can make big sustainable changes at your home, and in our city, with simple DIY projects.

Read more about the May 4 workshops in the Los Angeles TimesWeekend Radar!… Read more >>

Down from the Mountain as Another Season Closes

Photo: Julie Prejean

Ah, the sun has set on another seedling planting season in the Angeles National Forest. This year, Forest Aid: Angeles volunteers planted nearly 10,000 Jeffrey and Coulter pines, thanks to the management of the U.S. Forest Service, TreePeople mountain restoration staff, and the supervision of TreePeople’s dedicated volunteer group of Angeles Forest Restoration Supervisors.

There were stunningly beautiful days atop the mountain at Chilao Campground, where hundreds of seedlings went into the ground, planted by school groups and scout troops; corporate volunteers from companies all over the L.A.… Read more >>

Discover the North Valleyheart Riverwalk, April 21

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In April we branch out on our next community tree walk with partners at the Village Gardeners, who will show us their beautification and restoration efforts along the Los Angeles River in Studio City. Trees and water unite in a leisurely and informative stroll through areas of the designated North Valleyheart Riverwalk Greenway, part of the L.A. River Master Plan. You’ll see the progress of major volunteer planting efforts and find out how you can become involved in raising the standard for environmental stewardship in this area.… Read more >>

Human Help Needed to Restore Nature to the Angeles Forest

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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

Jim Hardie, TreePeople 216,000 gallon cistern

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 >>