I Am TreePeople: Maya Alarcon
TreePeople has a legacy of mobilizing communities. But it’s the stories of the people at the roots of our work that inspire us every day to keep greening our city for generations to come.
Meet Maya Alarcon, a TreePeople volunteer and the first in the lineup for our story series, “I Am TreePeople.”
How did you hear about TreePeople?
Maya heard about TreePeople all the way back in her early childhood in the 80’s when she visited Coldwater Canyon Park on a field trip. What she didn’t realize is how her relationship with us would come full-circle later on.
In 2009, while Maya was looking for work, she also decided to look for opportunities to give back to the community. Sure enough, she came back into the fold when she joined us for a tree planting and hasn’t gone far since, focusing mainly on our outreach events by donating her time at least once a month.
“It’s not a bad way to spend a couple hours on a Saturday or Sunday,” Maya said.
Why Volunteer with TreePeople?
“It’s important to teach people to take care of our trees and make our city healthy and sustainable,” Maya said.
Maya now works in events marketing and likes to apply her skills to connecting people with the importance of protecting our city.
“Events are fun because you see kids get excited about saving the environment instead of watching TV,” Maya said.
“I encourage anyone who’s looking to volunteer to work with TreePeople because there are so many ways to get involved. If talking to people isn’t your thing, go to a tree planting and get your hands dirty.”
What’s Your Favorite Story from the Field?
Maya said she especially enjoys going to events where she can reach a different audience instead of “preaching to the choir,” and opportunities to be in places where our presence is “unexpected.”
“There was an event a couple years ago where three nine-year-old girls were gathered around my booth listening to my presentation on the power of trees over and over. At one point, they had heard me so many times and got so excited that I let them take over and start teaching,” Maya said.
The connection shared between Maya and these girls shows how powerful it can be to share TreePeople’s work. Maya’s outreach affected these kids to get enthused enough to want to raise awareness on their own, an example of the ripple effect we aim to start in communities around the city: grassroots community education in action!
Check out our calendar to see a list of events. Join us in the Angeles Forest, at our next Fruit Tree Distribution Festival or at a local park for a tree care event. Also, if you haven’t heard, we have a very special program for our volunteers this year that could earn you a free Moonlight Hike or TreePeople throwback tee shirt!