School Greening Initiative

TreePeople’s School Greening Initiative teaches young people, their educators and families to be stewards of the urban environment as it supports them in transforming elementary and secondary school campuses throughout Los Angeles. 

Why the School Greening Initiative?

  • Many school campuses in Los Angeles are completely covered in asphalt, creating a bleak and swelteringly hot environment that is not conducive to learning
  • Green campuses nurture creativity and stimulate critical thinking
  • Green campuses save energy, clean the air, capture rainwater, enhance biodiversity, and produce fresh fruit

A selection of greening strategies

  • Shade and fruit trees
  • Native plant gardens
  • Rain gardens
  • Rain barrels
  • Green walls
  • Educational gardens linked to specific California State Educational Standards, for example an oak grove that can illustrate aspects of California Native American history and culture.

How it works

The greening of each school is a multi-stage, multi-year process.  A campus may begin with a shade tree planting, then build a rain garden, and finish by creating an orchard.  Schools have the option of incorporating water capture elements and themed gardens into their greening plan.  Special attention is given to schools in low-income neighborhoods where campuses are vital levers in transforming the neighborhoods around them.

What TreePeople helps schools to do

  1. Organize
    Building a “Green Team” consisting of volunteers who take on leadership roles to help vision, design, organize and implement the greening plan.
  2. Assess
    Training the Green Team to assess, map & record information about the campus project site.
  3. Design
    Supporting Green Team members to create a greening plan that merges their vision with what was learned during the site assessment.
  4. Learn
    Providing workshops to Green Team and other community members who are interested in supporting the project including volunteer supervision, planting, tree care and pruning, and more.  
  5. Do
    Cheering as the Green Team follows the greening plan, culminating in the Event Day!
  6. Maintain
    Checking in as the Green Team continues to monitor project health and coordinates care events. TreePeople provides FREE training on care and pruning, watering and other hands-on maintenance issues.
  7. Acknowledge
    Celebrating the accomplishments with the Green Team and community!

For more information on TreePeople’s School Greening Initiative contact Michelle Bagnato at or (818) 623-4840.


Watch the amazing transformation of one elementary school in South Los Angeles


Testimonial from the principal of San Pedro Street Elementary

“San Pedro Street Elementary school is situated in a heavily metropolitan area. We are surrounded by factories, a freeway and other businesses. Our students rarely have the opportunity to learn about the importance of trees and plants and alot of the times they take their food for granted. As a the principal of this school I am a huge proponent of providing these lessons to our students. I was thrilled to participate in the School Greening Initiative ...  The actual day of the project was an extraordinary experience. Over 100 community and non-community individuals including children volunteered their time to plant trees and build a garden. It is amazing how one day's worth of hard work and dedication can transform a school's playground into a more greener area that beautifies the school”.

Hector Carreno, Principal
San Pedro Street School

Photo Credit: David Cassell