Story of a Tree that Sprouted from an Eco-Tour
“The first time I ever left Chinatown was when my 5th grade class went on an Eco-tour at TreePeople. Since that day over 20 years ago a week hasn’t gone by that I haven’t thought about TreePeople.”
The conversation actually opened with, “Excuse me, are you with TreePeople? If so, I must thank you”. These words were spoken by a woman in her early 30’s who was eyeing the nametag I forgot to remove after a city hall meeting. She was the proprietor of a beautiful Asian housewares store I was visiting in L.A.’s Chinatown. She explained that she was born in Chinatown, her parents were refugees from the Vietnam war. “The next time I left Chinatown was the day I started college at USC”.
She is now a community leader who helps run her family business which includes a grocery store in Echo Park, and she’s a member of the Vietnamese-American Chamber of Commerce. I couldn’t leave the conversation at that. She shared, like nearly all of our Eco-tour participants, that she and her sister had received a seedling, nurtured it and planted it at her school. When she expressed interest in doing more, I told her of our fruit tree program. For the past few years, she’s helped organize the distribution of bare root fruit trees to other immigrant and refugee families helping them establish their own food security.
TreePeople’s Eco-tours and environmental education programs have in the last 34 years inspired and engaged over 2 million students in understanding that they are partners with and co-managers of our city’s ecosystem. They learn that they have the power able protect their own health and that of their family and community. They learn how they can play a key role in bringing trees and people together to form a functioning community forest that helps prevent air and water pollution, conserve energy and water and produce local food and jobs.
Now more than ever, as city and school budgets are slashed, we need to provide kids with the hope and empowerment that result from this especially nurturing experience of partnership with Nature in their city.
Please take the opportunity provided by the employees of Groupon to sponsor an Eco-tour and bring more children just like her into nature for the first time.