Keeping Memories of Trees Alive and Growing in L.A.

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

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 >>

Election Day: A Watershed Moment?

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 >>

Parking Lot Cool

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!

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 >>

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

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 >>

TreePeople Turns 40: Thank You, Los Angeles!

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 >>