From the Battlefield to Farm Fields

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America needs one million new farmers; returning war veterans need jobs.

Enter Ground Operations, the new documentary that follows vets who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan only to face a daunting transition back to civilian life. As filmmakers Dulanie Ellis and Raymond Singer show, organic food production is creating a restorative road home. Working with soil, plants, and animals, veterans de-escalate from the high velocity of combat in a revitalizing natural setting. “I realized I could be a nurturer instead of a destroyer, and that was a significant realization for me,” says a Marine.… Read more >>

Visit TreePeople—But Find an Alternate Route to Coldwater Canyon Park, March 23–April 25!

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Coldwater Canyon Avenue will be CLOSED between Ventura Blvd. and Mulholland Drive, from March 23 to April 25, 2013. We hope you’ll try these alternate routes so you can still enjoy our hilltop park:

Cahuenga Blvd./Highland Ave.
Laurel Canyon Blvd.
Beverly Glen Blvd.
Sepulveda Blvd.
Interstate 405

The road is closing because the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) is continuing its City Trunk Line replacement project. The next construction phase will require the full closure of Coldwater Canyon Avenue.… Read more >>

Three Big Days, One Simple Act


While April 22 is just around the corner and Earth Day is a wonderful time to reflect and celebrate this incredible planet, this month there are two other days that highlight hugely important environmental issues. March 21 is International Day of Forests and March 22 is World Water Day.

How to celebrate? After all, these days commemorate such enormous global issues. If I had to choose one action, it would be this: plant a tree.

With the simple act of planting a tree, each of us can help maintain the urban forest and shift the water crisis, all with one easy but profound step.… 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 >>

Grow a Fruit Salad on a Single Tree

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Want to grow a fruit tree, but can’t decide which one? Wouldn’t it be great to have more than one type of fruit on a single tree? It’s possible to have this “fruit salad” effect in your backyard with the amazing technique of grafting.

Grafting is the process of splicing a branch or bud from one tree onto another tree. Grafting deciduous trees (trees that lose their leaves in winter) is done in winter when the trees are dormant, or leafless.… Read more >>

What Kind of Tree Is That?

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Ever notice the trees in your neighborhood?

Maybe they are spectacular specimens with giant canopies that shade the streets and make you want to be a kid again and climb to the top. Or maybe they are small, under-cared for, half-dying trees, and it’s not even clear what kind they are.

More than likely, it is a mix. And that’s where two of TreePeople’s programs can really help out. Our tree care program is extensive. At TreePeople, when we plant a tree, we stay with it for a full 5 years to care for and maintain it until it is established.… Read more >>

Western Redbud: “A tree with year-round interest!”

Photos: Bob Sussman (left), Stan Shebs (right)

Why is the Western redbud (Cercis occidentalis) the best tree ever? Maybe it’s because at this time of year, redbuds are the focal point of any garden lucky enough to have them. This native Californian is a small tree (15–20’ x 15–20’) and does well in most any kind of soil, as long as it is well-drained.

In the late winter and early spring, when most everything else is still dormant and waiting to bud, the red bud has spectacular magenta flowers that are delicate and yet very resilient to cold, wet days.… Read more >>

When Trees Thrive, People Thrive

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We at TreePeople certainly believe that what we are doing is a matter of life and death. But sometimes we’re confronted with more sobering proof than we expected. That’s what happened when I read this article by Lindsay Abrams that recently appeared in The Atlantic, “When Trees Die, People Die.” 

I expected that this article would be just another “trees-make-us-feel-better” story. “Aren’t they pretty? Let’s go plant some.” I wasn’t prepared for this (italics mine):

When the U.S. Forest Service looked at mortality rates in counties affected by the emerald ash borer, they found increased mortality rates.… Read more >>

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.… Read more >>