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 >>

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 >>

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 >>

Celebrate Urban Trees as Superheroes on National Arbor Day, April 26

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U.S. Forest Service researchers have published compelling evidence* of urban trees’ immense carbon storage capacity. Along with the other many things they do to improve the environment, trees absorb carbon dioxide emissions from a multitude of pollution sources in our cities. “Thus,” the researchers conclude, “urban trees influence local climate, carbon cycles, energy use, and climate change.”

National Arbor Day is April 26. We join our friends at Alliance for Community Trees in the firm belief that reducing atmospheric CO2 is one of the most important functions of the urban forest—and that people can play a big role.… Read more >>

Citizen Forestry: Why Trees Don’t Make Sustainable Communities, People Do

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On April 27, several bleak and over-paved blocks of downtown L.A.’s Arts District will be transformed by a community planting of 27 trees. Birds will sing, leaves will flutter, and hearts will lift: all because one person had a dream and got enough people excited about that dream to make it a reality.

That’s how Citizen Forestry works.

Gabrielle Newmark, an Arts District resident, was the winner of last year’s TreePeople-GOOD Maker Green City Challenge. She happens to be one of the 1,146 Citizen Foresters TreePeople has trained over the past 30 years, as is her mother, Sheila Newmark, who transformed a nearly treeless elementary school playground in her day.… Read more >>

TreePeople Turns 40: Thank You, Los Angeles!

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Today marks 40 years since the Los Angeles Times shared a kid’s dream of saving our city and our forests. “Andy vs. the Bureaucratic Deadwood,” by Michael Seiler, touched many thousands of people–especially other kids and grandparents–and moved them to send in their pennies to nurture that dream.  Following the publication of  the article, the kid’s dream grew into a movement that over the years has engaged, educated, and supported millions of Angelinos in taking action to green and repair their neighborhoods, schools, and the forest watershed surrounding the city.… 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 >>