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

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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

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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 >>

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow!

Source: http://c-change.la/snowfall/

After the President’s speech on climate change this morning, and looking ahead to a hot weekend, we find our thoughts turning to snow.  Specifically, Los Angeles’s precious local mountain snowpack.  Why is this snowpack important (outside of skiing considerations), you might ask?  In a lot of ways, it is a measure of the impact of climate change on our region.

Snowfall is one of the ways LA gets its water.  Less snowfall equals less local water.  Consequently, more energy has to be used to import water from neighboring regions and other states (where ecosystems are also predicted to become much drier).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.

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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

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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 >>

Downtown L.A. Goes from Gray to Green

Photo: Laura Velkei

What’s better than a tree planting to beautify downtown L.A.? Many tree plantings to beautify downtown L.A.!

TreePeople Citizen Forester Gabrielle Newmark rallied her downtown Los Angeles Arts District community to plant 27 trees—including well-adapted Australian willows and pink trumpet trees—on April 27. Enthusiastic volunteers named each tree so that now Hector, Blossom, Roscoe, Ilean, Bob Barker, and the rest are happily installed and on their way to shading the city streets.

Gabrielle knew she was following the lead of some pioneering greening efforts that had begun making a difference in this gray and gritty part of town.… Read more >>