TreePeople Leader Peter Diep Named National Urban Forestry 2013 Volunteer of the Year

Here at TreePeople we’re incredibly lucky to have the volunteers that we do, and we’re continuously amazed at how committed, enthusiastic, caring, and energetic our volunteer community is. We have many standout volunteers, and it’s always a privilege and a joy to honor them through our own Volunteer Appreciation events. But we’re especially proud that Peter Diep – TreePeople’s own 2012 Volunteer of the Year and 2013 Citizen Arborist of the Year – has been chosen as the Alliance for Community Trees 2013 National Volunteer of the Year.

The Alliance for Community Trees is a coalition of over 200 U.S. and Canada-based Urban Forestry organizations, and this year’s worthy nominees hail from cities as diverse as Detroit, Seattle, Dallas, Nashville, Pittsburg, and, of course, Los Angeles. Every one of these individuals has made a difference in their respective communities and has been instrumental to the success of the organizations they represent.

So we learned about this award and the opportunity to nominate one of our own, there was no debate: of course Peter would be our candidate. He first started volunteering with us back in 2011. He trained to become a Volunteer Supervisor and quickly became one of our most reliable and dedicated event leaders, participating in activities every single weekend. In fact, we got so spoiled by Peter’s support that our Forestry Managers sometimes argued about who needed Peter most for their Saturday morning tree care events.

But, little did we know, Peter was just warming up. He soon added Santa Monica Mountains Restoration Supervisor,  Outreach Volunteer, and TreePeople Ambassador to his list of contributions and could often be found at public events cheerfully spreading the word about our work and encouraging new volunteers to join us. More recently, Peter also took on the herculean task of becoming a Citizen Arborist and began leading tree plantings and tree care events in his own neighborhood. Now, thanks to his efforts, Sherman Oaks can look forward to a healthy and vibrant canopy for decades to come.

It’s little wonder that Peter has become such an indispensable member of the TreePeople community. But beyond all of his tremendous work, he has also become our friend, which is why nominating him for this award and now seeing him win is all the more meaningful to us. We know, too, that TreePeople is a way for Peter to unwind after a long hard week — because he also happens to be a talented bio-chemist, who researches solutions for problematic medical transplant surgeries. Yep, Peter spends his workweek improving medical technologies for the human body and his weekends beautifying Mother Nature. He’s just that kind of warm-hearted individual — someone who cares deeply about both the future of this city and its inhabitants. Easy to see why we’re so fond of him, isn’t it? Not to mention that he’s incredibly humble and neither brags about his accomplishments nor asks for credit. But credit is due, and we’re thrilled that The Alliance for Community Trees has chosen to recognize Peter by bestowing him with this prestigious award. Truly, we cannot imagine anyone more deserving. Congratulations, Peter!

By Torin Dunnavant

Torin is TreePeople’s Director of Engagement and Partnerships. He serves on the board of the Atwater Village Neighborhood Council. Originally from Sacramento, he enjoys exploring L.A.’s many neighborhoods and natural treasures, and roots for the Oakland A’s.