Volunteers Give Heart to Our Work

Trees need people. People need trees. And TreePeople counts on volunteers year-round. We appreciate the countless hours of hard work done by thousands of volunteers each year, but the value of volunteers to this organization goes far beyond the sweat hours put in every weekend. From friendly smiles to funny moments, and patient teachings to shared passions, volunteers give heart to our work.

On August 29, 60 dedicated volunteers came together for our Volunteer Appreciation Celebration and Awards Ceremony at Coldwater Canyon Park. We shared food, drinks, music, raffle prizes and goodies, including packets of thyme seeds thanking volunteers for their time. Much like at a tree-planting ceremony, volunteers formed a circle in the Conference Center and recounted memories of their first experiences with TreePeople. For TreePeople’s new fall interns, who have just started to get to know each other and the organization, it was special to hear stories from valued volunteers who have been working with TreePeople ranging from three months to three years to nearly 40 years.

We appreciate each of our volunteers, no matter how many hours they spend greening Los Angeles, and strive to make every event a celebration of your efforts. The 2013 Volunteer Awards go to an extra-special group who embody the mission of TreePeople in making it their personal responsibility to better our city. Please join me in celebrating our honorees!

Coldwater Canyon Park Volunteers of the Year: Mike May, Adele Kerby and Louise Waterson

Angeles Restoration Supervisor of the Year: Stephanie Nelson

Santa Monica Mountains Restoration Supervisor of the Year: Bridget Thorpe

Citizen Forester of the Year: Gabrielle Newmark

Citizen Arborist of the Year: Peter Diep

Community Service Partner Award: Starbucks

Community Inspiration Award: Andres Altamirano

Mary Miasnik Outreach Volunteer of the Year: Maya Wisnievitz

Orchard Care Award: Herb Machleder

Honored Green Teams: Anderson Elementary School Green Team, Telfair Elementary School Green Team and Main Street Elementary School Green Team

Joe Vargas Volunteer of the Year: Thierry Rivard


Pictured: Our 2013 honorees together with TreePeople staff, family and friends.

By Mollie Stephens

Mollie Stephens came to TreePeople as a transplant from Maryland, missing the sprawling forests of the East Coast. Getting her hands dirty with TreePeople convinced her that she could make Los Angeles her new home, and her passion is matching volunteers with experiences that will connect them with their community. When she's not digging in the dirt, she enjoys cooking, reading and kayaking.