Based in Los Angeles, Tree People is an environmental non-profit working to green up our urban landscapes. In addition to planting trees throughout L.A. they also run educational programs for school kids to foster better eco-understanding, offer sustainable solutions for urban ecosystem problems, work with government agencies on critical water issues, and run a beautiful park in the hills. Tree People has coined a phrase I’m fond of: Functional Community Forest, intending that every neighborhood in the city create an environment and green spaces that function like a healthy forest, using local residents and businesspeople to spearhead the transformation. Citizen foresters will revitalize areas with plantings, mulch, water catchments, gardens and green trenches, permeable paving so oh-so-rare rainwater can soak in instead of coursing over streets and walkways, and drought-tolerant planting. It’s a pretty lofty ideal, and I’m completely buying in on the concept!
Tree People runs with the help of legions of volunteers: dive in and get your hands pleasantly grubby as you help plant trees, care for existing plantings, help in the headquarters, inspire the community and schools, photograph and document projects, or distribute fruit trees around town. When developers first started pumping water into this California desert to make a city, they may not have imagined it could ever grow beyond an arid state…but it certainly has (notice this city's iconic purple Jacaranda blossoms–one of my very favorite LA details), and greening it up more and more only makes it better…and more hospitable.