They Feel at Home: Two Treepeople Summer Interns

Last week, I told the story of my journey from third grade TreeKid to TreePeople storytelling intern. This week, we’re going back to Yurt Village to hear the story of two more seasoned TreeLadies. Meet Jessica Haren and Stephanie Nelson—summer Landscape Design and Development interns, respectively.

Jessica, a Landscape Architecture student at UCLA Extension, works with TreePeople’s Sustainable Solutions Director Lisa Cahill to design learning gardens that students, parents and teachers can plant to green their schoolyards through TreePeople’s School Greening Initiative. It’s a design challenge; Jessica must combine the teachers’ need for organization, the students’ desires for a space to explore and learn, and principles of sustainability into a new eco-space. But it’s a challenge she’s glad to take on, because, in her words, she wants to “design spaces for nature and people at the same time.” Although she hadn’t discovered TreePeople before she applied for her internship, she’s quickly making up for lost time; she loves gushing about all the beneficial bugs she’s discovered on the garden sites.

While Jessica often brainstorms from home, Stephanie is a yurt dweller through and through. She started collaborating with TreePeople as an Angeles National Forest volunteer to help reforest after the Station Fire but, realizing that she wanted to help behind the scenes, started volunteering in our Forestry office. Because of her background in marketing, social media and press relations, she applied for our Development internship—and the rest is history! Stephanie’s internship allows her to interact with our friendly group of volunteers, the people who motivated her to get further involved with TreePeople. She searches through our user database, eliminates duplicate accounts, and calls volunteers to make sure their information is up to date. Stephanie loves her internship because it allows her to keep in touch with the TreePeople community. “Once,” she relates, “I spoke to a woman who mentioned to me while updating her information that she was interested in the Citizen Arborist training. I told her a little about the program. She e-mailed me later to say she had gotten in touch and was really excited about taking the classes! It’s really nice to be involved, even in a small way, in people taking extra steps toward caring for our shared environment.”

“I felt so welcomed by the community that TreePeople fosters,” she smiles. “It’s so much fun to be out there with so many bright, fun individuals who are also interested in playing a role in our ecosystem.”

Jessica concurs—“I feel at home here.”


Pictured: summer interns Jessica Haren (left) and Stephanie Nelson.

By Emma Schiffer

Emma Schiffer has been a TreePerson since third grade; she got involved when her class sold popcorn to raise money for Treepeople. Although she wasn't selected to bear the symbolic giant check to Treepeople's headquarters, she harbored no grudges and continued to volunteer with them throughout high school. She currently attends UC Berkeley and is working as Treepeople's storytelling and photography management intern during the summer.