Celebrating National Volunteer Week and YOU

Happy National Volunteer Week!

TreePeople is inspired by YOU, our incredible volunteers, every single day. Your motivation and enthusiasm for our work is humbling and we could not have the impact we have without your support. April 6th through the 12th is National Volunteer Week and a perfect opportunity to take a moment to reflect on the achievements we’ve been able to reach this year because of all your amazing help.

The beginning of 2014 marked the start of another round of events for our annual Fruit Tree Distribution Program. In Inglewood,  our volunteers worked from early in the morning through late in the afternoon to prune hundreds of trees. Our volunteers at the distribution in Pacoima were met with rainy skies and frigid temperatures, but they forged on. At all of our sites – South LA, Inglewood, Watts, and Pacoima – we were welcomed by enthusiastic communities, which made it that much easier and that much more fun for TreePeople volunteers and staff to distribute 3,500 fruit trees!

When the National Forest Service made the difficult decision to suspend plantings in the Angeles this season, we decided to refocus our efforts on areas highly impacted by the drought: our parks. Shifting priorities was a challenge, but we were blown away by your response to our Drought Response Park Tree Care events. You mobilized quickly and efficiently to care for trees at parks across Los Angeles. In just 3 weeks over 350 volunteers cared for more than 550 trees at some of the city’s largest parks… and this is only the beginning! There’s a lot of ground left to cover, and we couldn’t be more confident in our team.

Out in the Santa Monica Mountains, veteran and novice volunteers have had the fortune of returning to our site at Lower Topanga each month. You’re helping restore vital areas of this sensitive habitat at one of our more difficult locations, which requires volunteers to hike in tools about a quarter mile. This area of Lower Topanga is being retired due to the hard work of hundreds of volunteers – we planted 100 more plants than anticipated and restored 3 times the area initially planned. Cody has received ringing endorsement from well-known scientists with close ties to the Santa Monica Mountains. Plus, due to the success of last year, an adjacent area of Lower Topanga is being supported again with an increase in financial support. This would not have been possible without volunteer support, and we’re excited to start the next phase together.

Our urban forestry events are also reaching new heights. Our campus planting at Hubbard Elementary School was supported by over 170 volunteers, a TreePeople record! Our calendar has been full of campus and street tree planting and care events, all of which have made neighborhoods greener and brought communities together thanks to the dedicated work of thousands of volunteers.

Whether you’ve been a TreePeople volunteer for just a few weeks or the past forty years, we thank you for your continued hard work and commitment. For those of you interested in taking on a more involved volunteer role and becoming a leader, we have two supervisor trainings coming up this weekend on April 12th. Learn more about our Volunteer Supervisor Training for urban forestry events as well as our Restoration Supervisor Training for events in the Santa Monica Mountains. The future holds many exciting opportunities for the people and communities of Los Angeles, and we couldn’t be more excited to move forward together!

By Nicole Liner-Jigamian

Nicole Liner-Jigamian joined the TreePeople family after a year abroad in South and Central America, where she was lucky enough to spend most of her time outdoors, meeting new and interesting people. Upon returning to her hometown of Los Angeles, she knew she wanted a career that would allow her to further develop her knowledge of the natural world while continuing to form strong relationships with people and the community. TreePeople provided the best of both worlds. In her free time, Nicole enjoys riding her bike, watching action movies and cooking.