Annette Bening Launches TreePeople Center

$10 Million Public Education Resource Serves Youth and Adults

LOS ANGELES (Oct. 2, 2008) – Actor ANNETTE BENING joins with TreePeople, a Los Angeles-based environmental nonprofit, today to celebrate the opening of TreePeople Center for Community Forestry. This four-acre, $10 million environmental educational campus, located in L.A.’s Coldwater Canyon Park, will serve more than 70,000 visitors annually.

Bening joins school children and public officials at the ribbon cutting event at TreePeople Center, where visitors learn basic principles of how natural forests “work,” and simple ways to apply these principles in an urban setting to actively prevent – and protect against – climate change, water and air pollution, and water shortages.

“Forests have always been the life support systems for the planet,” said Bening. “I’m inspired by TreePeople’s work in using trees as visible models of sustainability and helping to transform Los Angeles into a truly green city.”

The Center supports the TreePeople vision of creating “functioning community forests” throughout Los Angeles, where local residents, government and businesspeople work together to transform neighborhoods into sustainable ecosystems that act like a natural forest.

"TreePeople is leading the way to help make Los Angeles a more sustainable city, by improving the health of our watershed,” says Dr. Jennifer Wolch, Professor of Geography and Urban Planning, and Director of the Center for Sustainable Cities at the University of Southern California. “Their innovative programs teach children and adults the importance of harvesting the city's rainwater, and the need to become community stewards of urban nature."

“We’re excited to open this phase of our Center for student groups and volunteers,” said Andy Lipkis, founder and president, TreePeople. “Participants will be trained and supported to transform our region into one that is safe, healthy and sustainable.”

TreePeople Center facilities include:

  • The S. Mark Taper Foundation Environmental Learning Center, a training classroom for students and adults;
  • The W. M. Keck Foundation Nursery, for growing native plants to restore damaged local watersheds;
  • The La Kretz Urban Watershed Garden, offering hands-on exhibits to teach water harvesting and conservation using forest mimicking technologies to capture rainwater and reduce paving;
  • A LEED® platinum-certified Conference Center to promote sustainability in Los Angeles and around the world;
  • A 216,000-gallon underground cistern that stores rainwater collected from the buildings and Parking Grove for use in landscaping.

Design of TreePeople Center was provided by Marmol Radzinor and Associates, Mia Lehrer & Associates and Carlos Madrid III of DMJM Design / AECOM. Major funding was provided by the City of Los Angeles Proposition K Program, Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, Lloyd Rigler Lawrence Deutsch Foundation, Morton La Kretz, Kresge Foundation, S. Mark Taper Foundation, and W. M. Keck Foundation.

For over 35 years TreePeople has served greater Los Angeles with award-winning programs and a mission to inspire, engage and support people to take personal responsibility for the urban environment, making it safe, healthy, fun and sustainable and to share the results as a model for the world. School groups can register grades K-5 for weekly Eco-tours by calling (818) 623-4859; volunteers call (818) 623-4879. For other information about TreePeople, call (818) 753-4600 or log on to

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