Community Sustainability Workshop helps Angelenos respond to the drought

The drought is here and with a heat wave to boot, Angelenos are starting to feel the effects of climate change. To help community members learn what they can do to create a more sustainable LA and help slow climate change, TreePeople held a Community Sustainability Workshop at our headquarters on May 3rd. Roughly 100 people attended, ready to learn how to harvest rain, rip up their lawns, create native plant landscapes, and plant trees in their communities.

At the event, people were thrilled to learn that they can make an impact. And there’s a big impact to be made! In a year with average rainfall, an average-sized yard in LA can conserve, capture, and positively impact about 100,000 gallons of water. But just because it isn’t raining as much doesn’t mean your yard can’t capture water: even in drought conditions, a homeowner who chooses native plants and trees over a standard lawn can save more than 60,000 gallons a year.

Workshop attendee Soraya Dosaj emailed us the very next day to thank us for the event. She explained, ”I was encouraged and inspired by your informative workshop. In fact, I’ve already drawn a site plan and have identified areas for swales and berms!” Soon enough, Soraya’s plan will help her capture and conserve LA’s water supply.

TreePeople not only inspires and teaches Angelenos how to undertake these vitally important tasks, but also gives them the tools to ensure that it happens. After all, actually installing rain barrels and capturing 250 gallons every time it rains an inch makes a far greater impact than just learning about them.

This is why we partner with companies like Rain Barrels International and work with the Metropolitan Water District and the Department of Water and Power to offer their customers rebates. Now instead of having to go out and buy a barrel on your own after a workshop and pay upwards of $130, you can order one and pick it up at our workshops and events for a reduced price of $85. Apply for that $75 rebate we helped advocate for, and now it’s a $10 barrel!

May 3rd’s Community Sustainability Workshop was the final piece of our Sustainable Spring Series. We worked with the Theodore Payne Foundation, Alt Build, and the Water Wise Expo and Green Garden Showcase of Mar Vista in a two-month-long series of events designed to inspire, educate and motivate.

If you missed the workshop, don’t worry! We will have more helpful tips this summer and you can join us for our next workshop in September.

And even better – you can get started now!  Turn off your sprinklers, rip out your grass, and apply for Cash for Grass rebate. And don’t forget to pick up a rain barrel and apply for the Rain Barrel rebate . Then you’ll be all ready for the rainy season this fall. And remember, it’s never too late to get started.

By Lisa Cahill

Lisa Cahill first began her work with TreePeople as a volunteer Citizen Forester. She currently serves on the board of directors for the reDiscover Center, continues to volunteer as a Citizen Forester, has been on the Mar Vista Green Garden Tour and serves on several green committees at her church and children's schools. She most enjoys working in the garden with her husband, watching her children and vegetables grow.