Chapter 4: The Creation Unveiled: Producing Your Event

All the beautiful sentiments in the world weigh less than a single, lovely action.


The Creation Unveiled: Producing Your Event

Of course, you can plant and care for trees without any hoopla at all. But remember, this book is about nurturing community. A magic develops when people work together and tell the world they're working together. To pull off a successful event requires enormous effort, but it's worth every bead of sweat. There's no high like an event high.

This chapter should have been written by a boy scout, so loud is the message that one must be prepared. We've tried to cover logistics for everything from the pruning and weeding of a couple of street trees to planting projects that may stretch over six months. The first issue tackled under Event Logistics should help you put your project in perspective. Choose from among the information that follows for the scope and scale that best fits your event.


Determining how many trees to plant or maintain over what period of time is one of your most critical decisions. If you bite off more than you or your committee can chew, you can wind up with a failure that could have been avoided. Even if your longterm goal is to plant hundreds or thousands of trees, your first project should be large enough to challenge you but small enough to be manageable, to guarantee an initial success. A good deal of gain, in effect, for very little pain! For building community excitement, enthusiasm, and commitment, go for small wins rather than large failures.

Scope and Scale

No matter the size, set up your project to be accomplished in a single day or in a series of one-day events. It's difficult to maintain leadership or volunteer energy on events that run more than a day each. You should therefore avoid weekend-long events, unless the second is a play day.

Optimal event size depends on various factors: the number of experienced leaders or supervisors available to you; the number of untrained volunteers participating; the difficulty of the site (whether it involves soil digging, concrete removal, or slope, for instance); the size of the trees; and the planting requirements. As a rule of thumb, TreePeople figures it takes a team of two or three well-guided adult volunteers approximately two hours to plant a large street tree. Adding time for the logistical details of set-up and clean-up, you shouldn't expect that team to plant more than two or three trees in a day. This may sound absurd, especially if you're used to personally planting several hundred seedlings a day, but hang in there.

If you have forty large trees to plant over several city blocks, you'll need between forty and sixty people to comfortably accomplish the task in a day. When dealing with large urban trees—with a 15-gallon to 24-inch box, 2-inch caliper balled and burlap, or 12-foot-tall bare root—figure on about one tree per person per day. This rule works well if all work is done the day of the event. If you're working with residents who can't deal well with heavy work, you may want to recruit additional labor sources to help dig the holes either a day in advance or just before the planting.

We observed and assisted at a project where the work was more than the volunteers could handle. Instead of being done in a day or a weekend, it required several more weeks to complete. After the first day, a smaller, fatigued group of volunteers assembled and did the best they could but ultimately put their shovels away to prepare for their work week. In that process, the neighborhood volunteers burned out, and the organizer turned first to the Los Angeles Conservation Corps for donated labor and finally to hired physical laborers to complete the job. Although the trees now look great, the neighborhood has been reluctant to move on to additional projects.

This situation is avoidable with proper planning. If you're a little worried that the project may get out of hand, try recruiting backup teams in advance: youth clubs, conservation corps, high school or college sports teams, fraternities or sororities, corporate volunteer corps, even National Guard personnel.

Preparing the Site for Trees

For some projects, preparing the site means clearing a small area of weeds and grass and poking a hole in the soil. This simple and inexpensive approach is usually employed to plant seeds where the soil layer is deep and well drained; where the slope is not excessively steep; where there are few surrounding space limitations such as buildings, utilities, or other existing vegetation; and where permits are not required once permission is obtained from the property owner.

For projects at developed sites, getting the site prepared might be more involved. You'll need to make sure it's accessible on the day of planting. This might mean getting a gate opened, or having city officials close off the street or lane or post caution signs. At this point, you may need another city inspection (this time from the traffic or police department) to assist you with the logistics of lane closure.

Cutting pavement, concrete, or asphalt, breaking it up, and hauling it away is another major preparation that must be done in good time. You must check for underground utilities at least forty-eight hours before you begin cutting. Nothing can ruin your day like cutting through electrical, gas, or sewer lines! Almost the entire country is now served by a One Call Service that will contact all utilities for you. Check with the American Public Works Association in Chicago for a number in your area, or look in your phone book under pipeline or cable locating or the name of your utility. In Southern California, for instance, the company is called Underground Service Alert (1-800-422-4133). Caution: Very stiff fines are assessed for cutting concrete without notifying the utilities in advance. In California—under AB 73—those cutting without knowing the law are subject to a $10,000 fine, and those who knowingly break the law are subject to a $50,000 fine.

Prepare in Advance

Nothing is quite as disappointing for volunteers as to arrive and have no way to participate because the site isn't ready for planting. At one tree planting in downtown Los Angeles, 100 planters waited for two hours while frantic volunteers cut concrete tree wells inch by inch with handheld saws. By planting time, half the crowd was gone. The Citizen Forester for the planting planned to start cutting concrete at 6 a.m. on the planting day, but the concrete cutter broke down shortly before volunteers arrived. The moral of the story: It pays to have your site prepared well in advance.

Once the concrete is out, dig a single test hole if you're planning to plant large container trees; you'll get a better idea of whether tools like picks, digging bars, and augers (drills) will be useful. Soil dries out as soon as it's exposed to air, so if you plan to dig the holes in advance, replace the dirt until planting time.

Preparation is different at undeveloped sites. You may need to establish an adequate layer of soil for planting, such as at landfill sites. The planting area might need to be graded, to achieve a smooth horizontal or sloping surface. When planting seedlings to convert a grassy hillside to forest cover, many foresters prefer to disc the soil to loosen it and knock down competing vegetation, then remove any rubble and trash. However, this activity can hurt existing trees. It's also possible to prepare such sites without heavy equipment and disruption by hand clearing individual planting sites. This is done by scalping a three- to five-foot-diameter circle, removing all vegetation down to mineral soil, which ensures that the seedling won't have to compete for water, sunlight, and nutrients in its first year of establishment.

Soil Testing

You can gauge a good deal about the quality of the soil on your site by looking at existing vegetation. Are the trees and shrubs healthy and thriving, or are they stunted, discolored, or suffering in some way? Inexpensive soil-PH testing kits will help you determine the composition of the soil. It's also possible to send a soil sample away to a testing lab. Some testing services will send you an analysis with a recommendation for amendments needed to improve your site.

It's important to check drainage too. Bad drainage is a common problem in urban environments, and tree roots do not take well to being suffocated by standing water. Here's a simple test. Dig a hole about a foot across and a foot deep; then fill it with water. If the water drains at less than one inch per hour, drainage is poor; one to three inches per hour is good; and more than three inches per hour is excessive. Soil that drains too slowly can be improved by augering (drilling) holes several feet deep every few feet and filling them with coarse gravel. Soil that drains very quickly should be mixed with an organic soil amendment. Consult a professional arborist if you have questions.

Above all else, remember it is best to choose a tree that likes the native soil.

It is not only what we do, but also what we do not do, for which we are accountable.



Most important of all, newly planted trees must be watered right away. Be confident you can get water to the trees during the planting and afterward. Very deep watering at the beginning establishes all species well—including those that will be drought tolerant. Don't be stingy here. Gallons used now can prevent gallons later on. There are a number of options for water delivery.

Residents or businesses can each water their own tree. Dragging out a hose from each house or business on the day of the planting or tree-care event is the simplest way to water your trees, and it adds to the sense of community. If logistics won't allow this, you can bring a hose with you and use an available spigot.

With some advance notice, and provided there's no fire in the area, your local fire station might be able to bring its engine out on the day of planting to give the trees their first drink. This makes a good visual for media coverage, and the fire companies usually enjoy lending a hand. One note of caution, however: Some fire agencies keep their tankers filled with light water—a chemical treatment that enhances fire fighting but is harmful to the plants—making use of their engines impossible for the task. Be sure you check whether this is the case! You can achieve the same end result by tapping into fire hydrants. You'll need permission, however, and a fee is sometimes involved, as well as special equipment including an eddy valve and a wrench to open the hydrant.

Failing all this, organize a bucket brigade! Trash cans filled with water, coupled with buckets that can be carried by kids or others, is a fine solution. One thirty-gallon trash can will water two street trees or five to six seedlings.

Jack Pine
(Pinus banksiana)
zones 4-8


Restrooms and drinking water should always be available for volunteers. Locate the nearest restrooms—check at gas stations, fast-food restaurants, shopping malls, neighbors' homes, churches, temples, and other places for permission to use their facilities. If there simply aren't any restrooms around, consider recruiting someone with a mobile home who will loan it for the event. If necessary, you can always rent portable toilets (or possibly borrow them from road-construction or highway agencies). If your planting is in a rural area, bring drinking water in canteens.


Events are usually on weekends, and nurseries and building-supply companies often deliver only on weekdays. If you're planning a good-sized event, you may need a central, safe, and secure location to store the supplies that arrive in advance. Someone is sure to have a yard you can use, but don't take anything for granted. Arrange for storage well ahead of the event. The best place to store gravel is on the street, but find out if you need any permits or permission before you have it dumped.


Whether you're running a planting or a tree-care event, you need a place of disposal. When planting street trees, the planting style and the size of the watering basins will determine whether or not you have soil left over. On a residential street, leftover soil is usually snapped up for gardens, but in a commercial zone, you'll need a method of transport and a place of disposal. With luck, your local street-maintenance or parks department can be talked into lending a hand and a dump truck. If this is not possible, consider putting the soil in the empty tree pots and hauling them to a preapproved site.

You'll have an even bigger disposal challenge if you're cutting concrete. If you contract out the work, make sure that the contractor agrees to haul the debris. If you do it yourself, look for a place where broken concrete is recycled, such as a landscape or building-supply firm that uses it for building decorative landscape walls or a concrete recycling facility. Santa Monica, California has such a facility that turns concrete back into gravel for roads and construction. Again, check with a city agency to see whether the concrete can be hauled free of charge. If all else fails, rent a roll-off debris dumpster. A private waste hauler will deliver the dumpster for you to fill, then haul it off—along with $100 to $200.

If you're planning a tree-care event that involves pruning, removing suckers, or weeding, think about the trimmings. Estimate how much you think you'll be producing. Without experience, this is difficult to measure, but not impossible. Consider the number of trees you're working on and the work you're going to do; then look at the trees. Are there a lot of weeds or suckers? Are the trees small, requiring little trimming, or are they large?

Trimmings, being good organic waste, make perfect mulch. Since you're planting and maintaining trees to help heal the city, your first call should be to see if there's a city service that will use a chipper to convert the trimmings to mulch or compost instead of burying it in a landfill. Mulch the trees you've just aided or see if the city will haul away the leftovers.

Failing that, check to see whether there are any local compost bins you can help fill. Or see if everybody involved in the project can take home and dispose of one tree's worth of waste. You may be able to get permission to use a nearby dumpster. If you've got a lot to dispose of, get permission from several places so you don't completely fill any single dumpster.

Our trusty standby, the trash can, comes in useful again here. You can fill trash cans at the site, then cart them off to be dumped. This works well for small projects but can get cumbersome very quickly on larger ones. Try not to use plastic bags if possible; they won't biodegrade. (See Chapter 7 for further information.)

Be Safe

Safety plays a crucial part in a volunteer event. Be sure to consider safety procedures as part of your planning process, as well as part of your event.

Remember to take along a fully equipped first-aid kit and have on hand the addresses and phone numbers of the nearest paramedics or rescue service, fire station, police department, and hospital emergency room. For events, assign a qualified volunteer to first aid.

Match the volunteers' physical ability with the site. Keep in mind the terrain and its steepness, proximity to heavily traveled streets, the possibility of bugs and reptiles, or broken glass and other debris in the area. While planting in the mountains or in rural or unfamiliar areas, people can get caught up in the activity and lose sight of the rest of the group. Institute a buddy system so that planters can keep track of each other and don't get lost!

Make sure power equipment and vehicles are operated only by responsible people. Don't allow anyone to ride on tailgates or the sides of a truck bed. And don't move any vehicle without checking for kids, dogs, and the like. Have someone act as a spotter when necessary.

Spot the not-so-deliberate mistake in the foreground! (Hint: Never leave a tool with the tines facing up.)

Instruct supervisors and volunteers on the safe way to use and carry tools and don't use any that are broken or faulty. Lay all shovels, rakes, picks, and other tools point down or flat on the ground and keep volunteers well spaced when using tools swung over the shoulder.

Run a tree planting effectively to avoid careless accidents. Don't allow anyone—adults or children—to run around, throw things, or play with tools. The only thing participants should be allowed to throw is water—at one another—after a long, hot day!


For large events spread over several blocks or miles, walkie-talkies will improve your communications and facilitate logistical support. You may want to assign radios to a supply vehicle (for rapid delivery of special tools, gravel, or supplies), the check-in table, a first aid team, and the event leader. We avoid using radios as much as possible in order to keep our events human, but sometimes they're vital.

If you go this route, use powerful equipment you can rely on. You can rent walkie-talkies from audiovisual supply companies for ten to twenty dollars per unit per day plus insurance, which is worth getting, as they usually cost in excess of one thousand dollars to replace. Better still, recruit a local ham-radio club to assist you. Hams are fantastic support people, and given enough lead time to recruit volunteers for you, they'll be a real asset. Hams are geared up to supply emergency communications during disasters, and they appreciate events such as these as opportunities to drill and sharpen their skills.


We've said it before and we'll say it again: let your city councilperson or county supervisor know whenever you're working in the area. They may offer organizing assistance if you let them know ahead of time. Even if you don't need their assistance, it's a good idea to keep them updated so they're aware of your interest in greening your neighborhood.

A few days before the event, call the local police station. Tell the watch commander you and your neighbors will be out planting or maintaining trees. It pays to warn them that people will be working on the street or in a public place. More than once TreePeople volunteers have been stopped by police who thought they might be tree vandals!


Large events require trucks to help move tools, trees, and supplies. Try borrowing from the people in your neighborhood or have them talk with their friends or family members. You can rent large or specialized trucks, such as dumps or water trucks, but this is a costly way to go. It might be possible to arrange for a construction company, public utility, city agency, or even a local National Guard base to provide a vehicle with a driver. Because of liability problems, it's unlikely that any company or agency will loan you a vehicle without a driver, so appreciate that your request may involve them in a financial contribution to pay an employee unless the employee volunteers.


When planning your event, remember the begging, bartering, or borrowing theory from the previous chapter. Get creative. Keep your eyes open for surplus or underutilized resources that could be of service to you. Once you start thinking like a purchaser, your world is limited. When you're a gleaner, everything is a potential resource to your project!

When TreePeople needed trucks to move trees to the mountains, Andy called the Air Force, because he'd seen idle trucks at armories. It took a year for the Force to respond, but ultimately it provided nearly ten years' worth of tree transport convoys. Once we were offered 5,000 cups of yogurt as event refreshment, but there was a catch. The yogurt had to be picked up on a weekday and held in cold storage until Sunday. We asked another dairy if they'd loan us a refrigerated truck, and they came through. When several of our friends tired of having TreePeople's nursery in their backyards, we began looking for another space. We considered vacant car dealerships and gas stations, but ultimately found what looked like underutilized public land around a fire station. After listening to us for three years, during which time our friends lost almost all patience, the City Recreation and Parks Department gave us a permit to take over the forty-five-acre facility. What started as a place to put our seedlings became our Coldwater Canyon Park headquarters on Mulholland Drive—among the most expensive real estate in Los Angeles. It's a pity our buildings are falling apart!

Especially in this country, everywhere we look there are surplus or wasted resources—including people–that can be recycled, or more fully utilized for the improvement work our communities need.


It is likely that your neighbors have tools: picks, shovels, hoses, and trash cans you can use for small events. For larger events, start by asking volunteers to bring their own tools. If you don't want to rely on potluck, try the following sources. Check close to home: one of your city's agencies might maintain a tool bank for just this purpose. Some fire departments even have a checkout system for hoses and nozzles. If you strike out locally, try your state or county forester or the closest office of the U.S. Forest Service or Park Service, if there is a national forest or park nearby. In all cases, you may need a brief proposal to prove your credibility. Not all agencies will be able to help you, but many have now adopted policies to support volunteer efforts.

If there's a lot of activity brewing in your area, you may be able to convince your city to create a mobile tool bank that can be driven to neighborhood project sites to provide the vital support such grass-roots efforts need. Whatever you do, be sure to set up a tool checkout, as many volunteers in TreePeople's past, who didn't understand that volunteering meant no payment, have figured we'd never miss a shovel or a set of pruning shears. A simple suggestion is to number your tools and your volunteers at the check-in table. You'll still lose things now and then, but it sends a message that you're watching and can't afford to give away equipment.


Volunteers feel appreciated and nurtured when they're provided with food to stave their hunger or drinks to quench their thirst. See if neighbors who aren't up to the physical labor can bake goodies or make lemonade or coffee. It's also likely you can inspire a local business or service club to host that part of your event. Seeing neighborhood improvement going on, local restaurants and fast-food emporiums can usually be persuaded to donate several dozen donuts, hamburgers for lunch, or a number of party pizzas.

Spreading the Word

You can recruit volunteers, create public awareness, and acknowledge those who donated to your project—all through the media. You can also publicize your event with flyers.

For every planting, someone should be responsible for spreading the word. Make simple fact sheets to mail to local newspapers. Check deadlines with each paper. Post flyers on community bulletin boards at supermarkets and other businesses, libraries, and civic buildings in the area. Distribute flyers door to door in the immediate vicinity. Call any local celebrities and politicians to be on hand for the event. Don't forget to have information at the event to give to passersby who may want to get involved in future events.

All For One and Trees For All

In 1987, a community group with all the energy of the original trio began working on lining the boundary streets of the entire seven-square-mile city of El Segundo in the County of Los Angeles. The Tree Musketeers began by planting median strips, then approached the huge corporations and agencies that occupied the industrial borders of their city and asked them to get behind their plan. In the first two years, the north and south boundaries were planted. Arbor Day 1989 saw a planting on the east side and this year, the agency on the west, which is in the middle of reconstruction, agreed to landscape its entire site within five years. For Arbor Day 1990, the Tree Musketeers organized a treeathlon, which includes running, planting, and riding. The key here is that decision making and strategy are the responsibility of the Council of Youth Directors, whose members' ages range from ten to eighteen years!

Be sure your package clearly states the date, time, and place of the event; what exactly is going to happen; who is sponsoring it; and a telephone number to call for more information. Make your flyers attractive, enthusiastic, and readable.

Managing Volunteers

Energetic, die-hard, well-managed volunteers are vital to the success of your event. Once volunteers are on board, let them know they're being counted on: Some people take volunteer commitments lightly and choose at the last minute to drop their obligations. It's important your volunteers understand that they can and will affect the quality of the event if they choose not to honor their commitments. There are ways to do this without scaring people off. You don't want to have to fire anyone. On the other hand, nobody's going to feel good about an event that fizzles through a lack of commitment. The biggest trap is the One-Person-Tree-Machine syndrome. A constant challenge within the TreePeople organization is to train both staff and volunteers to share the workload. TreePeople's vision generally attracts very hardworking and capable people. No matter how efficient one individual is, however, he or she cannot dream, organize, and carry out a project single-handedly. If you appear to have it all together, your committee and event volunteers may perceive they're not needed and just bow out. Ask yourself who's to blame. Is it all their fault or fifty-fifty?

Black Walnut
(Juglans nigra)
zones 5-7

When recruiting volunteers for your event, calculate how many you need, then shoot for 10 to 20 percent more to cover for last-minute dropouts. There's nothing worse than a lack of good volunteers, except perhaps burning out the few you have by making them finish the project, and losing them for the future. While you want to make sure you don't underestimate volunteer numbers, it also isn't great to have too many volunteers and not enough work. They'll wonder why they came in the first place and will be difficult to motivate later on. People do volunteer for the right reasons; they want to work hard for something they care about. But the most widely reported reason for volunteering, across the board, is social. So make sure the volunteers have a good time!

Advance team

To have trees thrive in the urban environment, and to have your reputation thrive in the eyes of the bureaucracy and the public, you must guarantee a high planting or maintenance standard. It's important to have experienced people at your event, who not only know how to plant and care for trees but can also show others and check that it's done correctly. TreePeople has designated several roles that help achieve the best results.

Event developer. This role is necessary for large events. Around TreePeople, this would be the Citizen Forester. It's probably you, unless you've successfully given this job away and assigned yourself to fundraising, recruitment, or another part of the picture. The event developer is in charge of the project from start to finish. The bulk of the work is done ahead of the event. On the day of the event, the role can include running a ceremony, handling media interviews, hosting politicians or dignitaries, and managing photo opportunities, acknowledgments, and evaluation. Depending on the size of the event or group, these activities may be split or shared by a number of individuals.

Event leader. This person will head up the teams on the day of the event. His or her responsibilities include knowing the site intimately and knowing what equipment and supplies are coming. The role includes directing volunteers and answering the logistics questions that will arise during the day.

Again, the success of the event depends on how well it is managed. The leader must stay aware and awake, paying constant attention to how things are working. Volunteers and work need to be divided so that everyone has challenging tasks. If the leader stops leading, as the following story relates, things can easily fall apart.

TreePeople once organized a large and difficult planting with 300 volunteers spread over fifty acres of mountainside. The entire leadership team, who'd been up since 4 A.M. continuously directing volunteers, trees, and supplies to obscure pockets of the forest, independently, spontaneously, and simultaneously noticed that things were going so well that they decided they could stop managing and plant a tree or two. As you can probably understand, it's very hard for tree planters not to plant trees. Within ten minutes the entire planting operation broke down. Hundreds of people were wandering around aimlessly, trying to figure out where and what to plant next! It took forty-five minutes to put the operation back together.

Event supervisors. These are the people you'll train before the day to lead others through the process of planting and maintaining trees. Naturally, if yours is a planting, they'll need to be taught thoroughly and supervised initially to ensure they've got the point, as they'll play a vital role in guiding others at the event. They should be able to supervise up to four volunteers in the process of planting or carrying out maintenance on two or three trees at a time.

Troubleshooters. These people are your problem solvers. Choose volunteers with good judgment, who know how to power through rather than complain or give up. They'll have little assigned work on the day of the event other than perhaps being part of a planting or maintenance team, so that if a problem arises they can get things under control without being missed back at the job.

Other jobs. Volunteers can work at a sign-in table for tools and as drivers, or can dispense first aid or refreshments.

Sample Agenda for an Urban Planting

7:00 a.m. Event developer/coordinator arrives and begins setting up.

8:00 a.m. Advance team arrives, gets assignments and orientation to the site.

9:00 a.m. Volunteers arrive and attend a demonstration/ceremony.

1:00 p.m. Planting complete, cleanup is in full swing.

Lunch celebration begins on the site, or everyone heads for the pizza parlor. Having a lunch break in the middle of the event is a sure way to lose half your crowd, unless you're holding an all-day affair.

National Arbor Day

Usually the last Friday in April, National Arbor Day was first celebrated in Nebraska in 1812. J. Sterling Morton, a journalist, moved to Nebraska when it was treeless and, missing the beauty and benefits of trees, began planting many species around his home. When Morton became editor of Nebraska's first newspaper, he encouraged other settlers to plant trees for soil protection, fuel, building materials, fruit, shade, and beauty. He convinced the Board of Agriculture to set aside a day for planting trees. More than one million trees were planted in the state on the first Arbor Day. By 1894, Arbor Day was celebrated in every state, and in this century the holiday has spread to other countries. J. Sterling Morton was fond of saying, "Other holidays repose on the past; Arbor Day proposes for the future."


To keep things moving, create an agenda with a timeline. Include everything from the time you start to the time you go home with the job completed. An agenda will give the day a general structure and ensure that nothing's left out.

Make a list of what you (or others) are to bring to the site Check off these items as you load up. Loading up the night before is recommended if you don't like waking up at dawn. If the event is right outside your house, you should have all tools and supplies gathered in one spot the day before.

On the Day

You should plan on having your advance team—developer, leader, supervisors, and troubleshooters—arrive at the site at least one hour before everyone else.

Bring the team together so those who have not yet met can do so, and go over the agenda. Remember, these people are the net that holds everything together. Have a refresher on the planting or pruning style you want to use so all volunteers get the same instructions for that specific site (see Chapter 6), and repeat to supervisors here what you will tell the whole group at the kickoff, so they can pass it along to any late arrivals. Be sure to cover safety instructions and to explain where the bathrooms and refreshments are.

The advance team should then get everything ready for the volunteers (for example, posting no-parking or direction signs, or opening gates to the site). If volunteers arrive early, make sure they're assigned jobs to prevent their standing around getting bored and feeling useless. If you prepare well, everyone can concentrate on getting trees in the ground when things get rolling.

Making It Ceremonial

Ceremonies or press conferences can be an important part of an event. They offer a chance to acknowledge those who made the project possible, including donors, planners, other groups who assisted, volunteers, and anybody else who played a role. A ceremony is also a place to talk about what you're doing in your community and can be used to recruit support for future projects.

Though ceremonies take a lot of work, they're important for large, well-publicized events. If you decide to have a ceremony, ask yourself the following questions: What's its purpose? How long will it last? (Fifteen to twenty minutes should be the maximum.) Who will speak? (It may be you or a member of your group, local officials, celebrities, major donors or sponsors of the project, representatives of the groups that were important to the planning process, or people being acknowledged for their support.) How many people are expected? How many chairs and tables will be needed? Will you need a public-address system?

Flame Maple
(Acer ginnala)
zones 2-7

What to wear and what to bring


* boots or sturdy-toed shoes (no open-toed shoes)
* long pants
* clothes that can get dirty (because they will)
* layers of clothing to adjust with temperature
* bandana for all-around usefulness (chosen carefully if work is in gang territory)
* gardening or work gloves
* hats and/or sunglasses


* something to drink
* lunch or a snack
* camera and film for before-and-after documentation

Get Down to Work!

If you don't have a ceremony, it's important to have a kickoff gathering to bring volunteers together for an orientation. This meeting is really a ceremony with no pomp and all circumstance! Welcome everyone and thank them for choosing this event over everything they could have done that day. Let them know a little about the planting: who's involved, who paid or sponsored, who did the background work, and what trees are being planted or pruned and why. Give participants an overview of the day and your expectations of them; for example, you can announce that trees, to survive, need to be planted correctly so you need folks to listen well, to help one another and share tools, and, if possible, to stay for the whole event and help clean up. Explain that a well-controlled event will be a safe, high-quality event. Introduce the event supervisors if you have them and then, depending on the size of the turnout, either give a demonstration or divide the participants into supervised groups so they can go off and have their demo. Ideally, each group shouldn't have more than about fifteen members. With many more, volunteers lose attention and miss vital information. Individuals can then be assigned to their work areas.

It's a good idea to keep someone at the sign-in table to greet late arrivals, VIPs, or news media. It also makes sense to keep a supervisor free to give late planting or pruning instructions. If that's not possible, assign late arrivals to already-working teams so they can get on-the-job training. Even experienced volunteers who go to work without an orientation are more likely than not to be out of sync and to use an incorrect technique.

As the day progresses, the leader, supervisors and troubleshooters should continue to monitor the quality of the work and offer correction where needed. If it's going to be a long day, plan on building in rest or refreshment breaks. These can be spontaneous, taken by each team as it completes a tree, or done in unison with the entire group—a good idea for lunch.

Whenever possible, maintain group unity and you'll keep intact a tremendous amount of extra energy in the form of synergy. When a project is long and hard, working alone without the support of the group can be draining. The synergy of the group can carry everyone through the fatigue and keep spirits high. It is this synergy that keeps people coming out for events. Capture it, nurture it, and you and your efforts will be applauded and appreciated throughout the neighborhood, because you'll turn your events into something very special—a celebration of community that people will never forget.

On a similar note, the wrap-up and clean-up is best done with the aid of the entire group. There's nothing more depleting than feeling abandoned to do the dirty work. Cleaning, stacking, counting, sorting the tools, rolling hoses, and even washing vehicles and putting away the tools can be a high when done by the people who've just shared the day together. If it's not done this way, the wrap-up process can take days. The person left holding the ball—most likely you—will resent not having received any help and will probably never want to do the work again. Don't sabotage the process. Let everyone know ahead of time you expect to see a full team till the end. In fact, volunteers who cheat themselves of a good completion often regret it later when they hear about the good time everyone had after the event.

Green Ash
(Fraxinus pennsylvanica)
zones 3-9

Interim Wrap-Up

Even so, some people will always have a tendency to wander off after they feel the bulk of the work is done. Once again, this dissipates the energy and can send a low signal to those remaining. If this happens, gather the volunteers, thank them, and release those whose heads are already home and taking a bath! Invite people to report on anything special that happened. Have everyone picture the difference their efforts will make. This time is a good time to talk about any follow-up activities you may have planned.


Once the day has been declared complete, you may want a completion celebration. This can be as simple as a potluck meal at someone's house or a lunch provided by those who can't work, or as complicated as closing the street for a block party or having a party at a local school or house. A celebration gives everybody a chance to enjoy what they've accomplished. TreePeople hardly ever plans one of these, but it's a rare event that doesn't finish with a gaggle of staff and volunteers downing beer and pizza at our headquarters, enjoying the high that comes from a good hard day with the trees, and perhaps catching a little mention on the news once in a while.

Target: Two Hundred Million Trees

In September 1985, Claire Ekas, the wife of a Queensland farmer, saw a videotape of clips from TreePeople's Million Tree Campaign (see Chapter 5). "I could do that!" declared Claire. She launched Target: 200 Million Trees by 1988 and set about coordinating one of the world's most spectacular reforestation campaigns.

Claire used the Australian Bicentenary to encourage every possible community group, school, government body, farm family, shire council, and business to contribute to restoring a denuded continent. Many groups were already active but working in isolation. When the campaign closed three years and three months later, the total had reached 201,769,556.

Claire took the follow-up one step farther than TreePeople, acknowledging by letter every person who sent in his or her tree count. She also added humor to the message with slogans like "Put some branches 'round your ranches" and "Possums Need Blossoms."

After It's Over

Even though you've perhaps stood in front of the crowd and said thank you, even though you've shaken hands, hugged, patted backs, and shared glasses of champagne or a celebration hot dog, you haven't really thanked everyone until you've written it down. It can be as simple as a postcard or as sophisticated as a plaque, or a typewritten letter with resulting newsclips, photos, or even other letters of acknowledgment from the community that benefited. These people are your volunteers, your donors, media or personalities who showed up, and the folks who greased the skids for you, helped get your permits through, or offered a special deal on supplies. You'll need them for your next project, so make them feel as important as they were. Some communities have even put together photo albums of their event and shared it at a future gathering or in separate meetings. If you plan on doing this again, consider this sort of documentation. It will certainly help you recruit resources next time. Drop a little seedling on the desk of someone really special as a thank~you gift. Such consideration also works beforehand. If you're trying to attract the attention of a potential sponsor, think of appropriate, unusual touches for your communication.

Evaluating Your Event

For help in planning future projects, evaluate your event after it's over. Look at what happened—both good and bad. Acknowledge what worked well and examine that which didn't work so you can find better ways next time. Include your advance team and anybody else interested in the process.

Let everybody give feedback. You might want to use a chalkboard divided into sides listing the good and the not-so-good. Don't try to analyze these thoughts; as in a brainstorm session, get everybody's ideas as a starting point. Then take time to talk about each item mentioned.

Children of the Green Earth's Tips on Working with Children

Children of the Green Earth is a nonprofit educational organization based in Seattle whose work was inspired by the late Richard St. Barbe Baker. The following excerpts are from their book, Planting Trees with Children—and Making It Work.

* Plan to allow time for sharing the experience with children involved.
* Give the children a context for the planting and create a mood for the event. This can be done by telling a story, explaining why the group is planting, for example.
* Let the children know the sequence of events and explain that their cooperation is necessary for the tree to grow up healthy.
* Dedicate the tree for a special reason or in honor of someone. Have the children give it a name or their good wishes, or recite a poem.
* Share a quiet moment after the planting. Help the children envision a full-grown, beautiful tree and imagine the benefits it will provide.
* Find out about trees. Gathering the information about the trees you'll be planting helps the children feel more connected during the event—from general planting requirements and care for a particular species, to its folklore and history.
* Do something else with trees. A project in art, music, literature, woodworking, or craft helps kids understand the many ways we use forest products. Be sure to tie in the idea of replacing what we use.
* Sing a closing song. The Children of the Green Earth song is sung by children all over the world. Motions which accompany the words are:
"From our hearts" (hands on hearts). "With our hands" (hands moving out to center of the circle, palms up as if offering a gift). "For the earth" (kneeling and putting hands on the earth). "All the World Together" (rising and lifting arms overhead and then circling them down to their sides, describing a sphere around themselves).

Kids: The Little Planters with Lots to Offer

Children love tree plantings, and the experience can stay with them for the rest of their lives. Some of our most successful plantings have involved schools and kids. You'll need to keep in mind children's physical constraints, but here are some suggestions for keeping eager hands busy.

Kids will probably have no difficulty carrying light buckets to help with watering. You can also try having them dig holes for trees by taking turns at the shovel. Most children love to sort, so have them count, sort, and pile shovels and other safe, lightweight tools. They can also help you deliver tree ties for staking.

Any child can perform small but important tasks, such as fetching drinks and running messages. Make sure there's a level of involvement for everyone.

An all-children planting is a possibility with smaller trees and plenty of supervision. Make the tasks more interesting with added information and stories.

Everybody can be great, because anybody can serve.



If for some silly reason you want to take on a huge event, you should know that planning and preparation are the keys to success. Although we're known for producing some monstrous events (see Chapter 5), we don't recommend them as the basis for establishing a program.

Huge events can produce visibility, credibility, impact, and outreach and can galvanize a community to accomplish the unthinkable, giving individuals a profound experience of personal power. On the other hand, huge events are costly. They consume large amounts of cash and can burn out staff and volunteers. Along with the goodies, they can produce a dependency on you or your organization, instead of self-sufficiency. Perhaps most insidious, a splashy event doesn't necessarily produce an ongoing commitment to care for the trees that are planted. As powerful as they can be, we suggest you consider huge events with great caution. We offer the following chronicle as an example of what can be accomplished, along with some analysis of costs, successes, and failures.

On January 13, 1990, the anniversary of the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., TreePeople produced its largest-ever single-day urban tree planting. The event resulted in the ultimate planting of over 400 trees along the entire seven miles of the boulevard named after Dr. King. Several thousand people showed up to help plant the trees, honor Dr. King, and convert the street into a living monument.

The event was seeded eighteen months previously when Citizen Forester Eudora Russell began talking of a decade-long dream she'd had of turning King Boulevard into a fitting memorial to its namesake. She'd completed her first substantial project and was ready to take on something bigger. Her first letters to the city produced no response, and she finally shared her dream with TreePeople staff. Instead of spending years persuading the city to put millions of dollars into redesigning and landscaping the entire street, she decided to get started on something that could be accomplished much quicker.

Eudora met with the Los Angeles City Street Tree Division and together they chose Canary Island pines as the species.

In March 1989, when TreePeople was offered a small grant via Gallo Wines and AFA's Global Releaf Fund, we used it to launch the King project. Eleven large pines were planted on April 22 in a National Arbor Day ceremony that called attention to the new dream and to the need for a committee of volunteers to make it real. After a number of discussions with Andy, the idea emerged for a major celebration on Dr. King's birthday. The aim was to gather the community in the spirit of Dr. King's dream and philosophy, and accomplish the entire planting in one day.

In October, the Southern California Gas Company and the mayor's office expressed an interest in leading the corporate-fundraising effort. Six months passed during which other pressing issues had taken priority and now, with so little time before the proposed date, January 13, 1990, TreePeople pledged to help Eudora and her committee, despite our strong encouragement that Citizen Foresters organize their plantings with as little outside assistance as possible. Instead of dropping the project on an overloaded staff, we hired a Citizen Forester, Fred Anderson, and assigned him to coordinate all aspects of the production.

Fred began to facilitate the work of the King Boulevard Memorial Project Committee. A logo was designed, and the committee began recruiting broad-based community support. City council staff from the four districts through which the boulevard ran joined the committee, along with a representative from Mayor Bradley's office and staff from a sponsoring local radio station.

To emphasize community ownership, a fund was established at the California Community Foundation to receive and manage incoming tax-deductible donations.

Fred led TreePeople staff in designing a logistics and community-outreach plan. As the plan unfolded it became clear that increasing amounts of staff time would be needed for a successful event. The budget—$130,000—attempted to cover all expenses.

Outreach and Enrollment

We couldn't produce just a planting and walk away because we were committed to community ownership. This project was to be by the people and for the people. Our community outreach included schools, churches, group mailings, and canvassing.

One staff member coordinated an attempt at personal contact (using door hangers only as a last resort) with every home or business within half a block of the entire fourteen linear miles of the boulevard. TreePeople's school-program staff made presentations to over thirty elementary schools near the boulevard while the outreach team worked with three public high schools, two of which had leadership-development programs. We also worked with the Los Angeles Conservation Corps' Clean-and-Green Junior High program and were in touch with all the churches to involve their membership. One committee member produced a poster contest to further the message.

Interagency Coordination

Early on, we coordinated a meeting with representatives of the Street Tree Division, the Bureau of Street Maintenance, the Traffic Department, police tactical planning, the fire department, the Department of Transportation, and the mayor's office. The event would require official closure of a lane on each side of the street (fourteen miles of signs, cones, barricades, and flags), posting of no-parking signs, and mechanical street sweeping after the event. Even without planting logistics and support, the event represented an enormous burden of manpower and equipment on the agencies. The costs involved necessitated the securing of a city council special-event resolution enabling the agencies to commit and spend unbudgeted resources. The resolution also allowed us to cover the event under our existing one-million-dollar-liability insurance policy.


We decided to plant all seven miles simultaneously. Appreciating the difficulty in managing anything on a site that large, we broke the fifty-block-long area into twenty-five two-block units, and set them up as fully independent operations, as if each block were a small planting. Management was to be handled by a block captain (like a mini event leader), hosts and greeters, and a team of planting supervisors. Multiplied fifty times, that amounted to more than 500 people who needed to be recruited and trained in advance. Each unit would be fully equipped with a sign-in table and chairs; supplies including steel tree stakes, gravel, and root-control barriers; tools; trees; a first-aid kit; a walkie-talkie; and a portable toilet.

Delivering the supplies proved a major challenge. Because of the size of the planting, nothing could be delivered in advance. Volunteers needed to be in place for set-up. We planned to rent eight twenty-foot flatbed trucks and to load each with a set of supplies for a group of block-unit stations. The rentals would be augmented by a fleet of trucks provided by TreePeople, volunteers, vendors, and public agencies. We chose to rent the basic fleet for critical supplies to avoid a possible breakdown if a loaned vehicle didn't show.

A police station parking lot roughly midway along the boulevard was designated an interagency communications command post. To avoid bottlenecks, we arranged for walk-in volunteers to sign up at any one of twenty-five registration areas along the boulevard. They would be greeted and signed in, and would receive a name tag before being grouped with a trained planting supervisor to guide them through the planting of their trees. In this way, we were able to guarantee all trees would be planted by experienced personnel and all volunteers would experience support through the entire process.

Each block captain would be issued a walkie-talkie for emergencies or logistics questions. To enhance the educational aspect of the event, we arranged for the City Bureau of Sanitation to provide recycling bins at every sign-in table. They also provided one of their new recycling trucks to cruise the boulevard and service the bins.


Although TreePeople maintains a supply of more than 500 shovels, we needed many more for this event. We arranged to borrow an additional 800 shovels from the Bureau of Street Maintenance. We also needed more stake pounders, so we borrowed all we could from the Recreation and Parks Department and the Street Tree Division, and when we still didn't locate enough, the Southern California Gas Company underwrote the cost of the ones we needed to purchase. Tables and chairs to supply each of the block units were loaned by the County of Los Angeles.


Despite our best efforts, TreePeople has rarely finished its fundraising before a project's inception. It gives us ulcers but keeps spirit and energy in our work. Within moderation, we try not to let a lack of money stand in our way. Although many items and services were being donated for this project, a number of service donations fell through. The project was becoming very expensive, but those helping to raise the money didn't see the expense as a major problem.

This project was so big that it equaled a sizeable portion of the entire TreePeople budget, and was far more than we could raise on our own. Besides, with our own annual budget to raise, we were reticent to ask our regular donors to support a project that was supposedly being handled by the community, with TreePeople providing only coordination and training. With so much else to do throughout the year, how could we continue to provide the funding for every community planting project?

Regardless, we set up a system for donor acknowledgment. Corporate sponsors of $1,000 or more were to be honored with a banner on the boulevard. Individuals, schools, and groups were invited to sponsor the planting or care of one tree for $100 and $53 respectively. Each would receive a T-shirt and a certificate.

The fundraising team included personnel from the Southern California Gas Company, the mayor's office, and the King Boulevard Memorial Project Committee. Although we had some political and corporate clout, we had nobody lined up to make a substantial contribution—nowhere near the 50 percent goal one should shoot for before making a public announcement to raise the other half. The gas company made an opening commitment of $10,000 and pledged to donate all the printing costs. Since they were leading another major Martin Luther King Birthday event, they expected to bring in substantial funding to match their generosity along with an endorsement from the other event. What they didn't anticipate was that the planting was viewed by many as funding competition, so no endorsement was made and consequently no high-level corporate support was given.

We were at a critical point, with no cash to cover all the preparation. We set a go/no-go date of a month before the event and just in time, Mayor Bradley made a public commitment to raising the funds. The mayor's leadership was critical. His job was to communicate the need for public involvement to save the project. We held a press conference in which the mayor made a request for assistance.

Unfortunately, it backfired. The following day, a generous, well-placed half-page newspaper article appeared proclaiming that the mayor and the city were going to plant 400 trees on King Boulevard and that the first hundred had already been planted! The public was told that everything was being handled without them—business as usual. We were not able to invite the greater community to help until the day of the event.

We pushed the fundraising as hard as we could and slid into the planting day with a $40,000 deficit, which came out of TreePeople's general fund. We'd even set up a toll-free phone line, compliments of GEO, and with an intensive media effort, invited tree sponsorship. Despite good coverage, including the Los Angeles Times, we received only eighteen phone-call donations. Toll-free phone lines, without a telethon to back them up, are not a good way to raise money!


The outreach and enrollment programs recruited a large pool of volunteers to be trained for event leadership. TreePeople staff and experienced Citizen Foresters produced a number of hands-on planting-supervisor trainings in the two months prior to the event. Those trainings alone resulted in the planting of 100 trees. In addition to the trainings, all volunteers were called to participate in a final logistics meeting three nights before the event where they reviewed what they'd learned, met with their block teams, and were given their block-captain, host, or supervisor T-shirts along with a final pep talk. The goal of having 500 people trained in advance was met.

Site Preparation

Many planting sites were in concrete sidewalk that needed to be marked, cut, broken out, and removed. That was the only significant site preparation needed other than lane closure and traffic control on the planting day. Initially, we hoped that city agencies would cut the concrete and auger the tree holes before the planting. As it turned out, they did not have equipment, manpower, or time to do it. We eventually contracted out the concrete cutting, breaking, and debris removal. We decided it would be better for volunteers to dig the holes.

Theory Versus Practice

The best laid plans indeed! One could imagine, considering the variables, that a few things wouldn't go as planned. We weren't disappointed. When you step into citizen forestry, or any substantially uncharted territory, you need to have what former staff member Hunter Lovins called "a high tolerance for ambiguity"; in other words, a lot of patience and an ability to solve problems creatively. Despite apparent breakdowns, the event was an absolute success. A few of the highlights:

Misinterpretations of various commitments and plans caused substantial delays in a number of areas. One example resulted in the concrete-cutting process being slowed to the point of failing to meet the deadline. We discovered this about thirty-six hours before the event and, at the last minute, tried unsuccessfully to hire a fleet of additional contractors. Ultimately, we called our buddies at the gas company, who dispatched emergency crews with jackhammers, which freed the contractors to focus on simple cutting. That left the hole clearing to the volunteers, who placed the broken concrete and debris in the street for removal by the City Bureau of Street Maintenance—a major unplanned city effort and expense.

Instead of delivering twenty-five separate piles of gravel, the building supply firm would drop only one eighty ton pile. Initially, we lined up eighty members of the Los Angeles Conservation Corps to shovel it into 5-gallon buckets, but once again, the Bureau of Street Maintenance came through on the morning of the planting with skip loaders and huge dump trucks. We expected twenty-five piles, but they wound up delicately delivering a mini pile at each of the 300 tree sites. Although this saved a lot of volunteer sweat, it caused considerable delay for those waiting at the end of the delivery routes.

No planting in Los Angeles is approved without a root barrier (the big round thing in the foreground).

We recruited our hams (amateur radio operators) too late, which gave us too few for total event command, so we had to rent fifty walkie-talkies. The flaw with this step, however, was that we had only one frequency! Fortunately, the few hams we recruited managed the communication system, trained all the volunteers, and saved the day.

During the afternoon before the planting, it began to rain. Just as it was getting dark, we discovered that the tree sites we'd mapped out didn't match the markings on the street. All volunteers already had their maps and assignments. Two of us drove and walked the entire route in the rain, counting and reassigning, then used both walkie-talkie and public telephone to communicate the information to the TreePeople office, where staff worked through the night to make new maps.

We'd promised the volunteers that the planting was on—rain or shine. At 4 A.M. when we woke, it was pouring. The initial leadership showed up at the site at six o'clock dressed and drenched. Every block captain was in position by 7:30 and it was still raining. Two key staff members were so sick with the flu that they couldn't get out of bed. By 8:30, the Planting Supervisors were on the scene and the sun began to break through. The public converged at 9:00 and the rain had stopped. The turnout was astonishing, both in terms of numbers and diversity. Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and Whites from all over Southern California were attracted by the invitation to create a monument.

At 11:00, with stake pounders ringing like bells in the background, we held a press conference and ceremony that was attended by the mayor, city council people, and corporate sponsors. The mayor was visibly moved, having just driven several miles of the boulevard and witnessed the incredible outpouring of human energy and spirit—the citizens of his city out working together. He turned the press conference into a fundraiser by writing a personal check and declaring that no politician would be allowed to speak unless they came to the podium with a check in hand! Every time a check of $100 or more was written, the mayor interrupted to acknowledge it.

The final speaker was the Vice-President for Public Affairs at the Southern California Gas Company. Like the mayor, he was moved both by the magnitude of the event and by the fact that more than two hundred of his employees were on the street volunteering. He threw away his speech and made a surprise announcement: although they'd been the lead giver, they wanted to dig deeper to retire the debt. He revealed that his company had a policy of donating $100 to any nonprofit organization for which an employee volunteered more than eight hours of service. Thus, his two hundred employees' full-day effort resulted in a commitment of an additional $20,000 to the project.

To accomplish great things, we must not only act but also dream, not only plan but also believe.


That commitment signified a remarkable process that we often see when executives first get involved in this work. They intellectually support the cause, but when they actually begin to physically participate and have a direct experience, their excitement and enthusiasm go off the scale.

The ceremony concluded with birthday cake—not just at the press conference site but concurrently at all twenty-five registration tables. The major hotels in Los Angeles had organized themselves to bake and deliver enough cake to feed all the planters. Every cake was different; some were works of thematic art, complete with plastic trees and L. A. beach scenes. Imagine: birthday cake for 3,000 people. In Andy's final comments, he gave thanks for a miraculous event, drawing attention to the island of sun in which the planting was taking place. We were surrounded by heavy clouds. It was still raining on the rest of the city.

As each tree was planted, a neighbor was recruited to help water and care for it. All the planters signed their names to clean stickers and fixed them to the steel tree stakes along with the name given to their tree. A final sticker identified the person who'd adopted the tree and committed to its early care.

One last glitch developed. Although we'd prescribed an interagency communications command post and provided the facility (a large motor home), the involved agencies didn't staff it. As a result, logistics difficulties took much longer to resolve. To facilitate solutions, we issued radios to some city staff members, enabling them to work as part of the problem-solving force.

Once the trees were in and the street cleaned up, the leadership team gathered to sort tools and compare stories. And what stories they were: of gang members naming their tree after a friend who'd been killed in a drive-by shooting; of an elderly woman who'd marched with Dr. King dissolving into tears as she recounted the story to planters; of neighbors coming out of houses and of planters being offered cups of tea and coffee. Then the sky opened up with a sun shower, which produced a sight so sweet we all swore no one would believe it if we reported it—a bright rainbow graced the horizon.

Wellesley, Massachusetts, 1903

From the report of the tree warden: "The principal object of a street is, of course, that it be convenient for travel, but we also should try to have it as pleasant and healthful as possible; and a street lined with trees is certainly more pleasant than one without . . . . The New York Medical Society recently passed the following resolution: 'One of the most effective means for mitigating the intense heat of the summer months and diminishing the death rate among children is the cultivation of an adequate number of trees in the streets.' "


All the people who signed in at the event were sent thank-you notes and a follow-up newsletter. Every couple of months a group of volunteers gathers to do a bit of work and continue to enroll, and thank, neighbors for caring for trees. Even the city has sent a water truck along the boulevard a few times. As we had hoped, the trees are surviving with care and attention from those who live and work nearby.

Additional Analysis

As wonderful and successful as this program was, it's not a model of good citizen forestry. In producing it, we violated one of our basic operating principles: we jumped in and guaranteed the event before the local communities were ready to take it on. In retrospect, another year of outreach would have provided viable community leadership. Even though there was a high percentage of neighborhood involvement, our true goal was to see the local churches, schools, and community groups adopt entire stretches of the boulevard in advance, both for planting and ongoing tree care.

The event left the staff, volunteers, and community members deeply moved, inspired, and gratified. It also left some of us thoroughly exhausted. Most important, the community was left with a new spirit and sense of possibility. Neighbors, politicians, agency personnel, and bureaucrats worked together, forging a new kind of partnership. That partnership produced cooperation, teamwork, empowerment, spirit, and hope—the ideals about which we dream, the things dreamed of by Martin Luther King, Jr.

When we spoke in Portland recently of this event as a failure, one audience member commented that if this was a failure, he'd hate to see our successes! As the book relays, however, our successes are much quieter. They don't all make the news. They happen in backyards and on streets, in classrooms and living rooms, in African villages and on mountain slopes. With luck, you'll soon be one of them.