TreePeople Volunteer Takes on the Drought

This past Sunday, TreePeople staff and volunteers participated in a special tree care event in North Hollywood. One of our enthusiastic Volunteer Supervisors, Vahagn Karapetyan, had noticed that the trees in his neighborhood were suffering, so he decided to take action.

Vahagn Karapetyan has been volunteering with TreePeople for the past two and a half years. He first got involved as a graduate student at UCLA, looking for something to do on the weekends. He quickly moved up the volunteer ranks and became a Volunteer Supervisor, assisting staff at forestry events with a smile on his face and a seemingly endless supply of energy. Despite having a full time job and being actively engaged in an array of extracurricular activities, including the cello and photography, he has been a dedicated and dependable staple of the TreePeople family. So we were thrilled when he came to us with the idea of running his own event.

Almost every day on his walk to the North Hollywood train station, Vahagn passes a stretch of unhealthy trees that are yellow and losing their leaves. “It’s this urban, grimy looking area, and the trees—the ground looks completely dry,” he says. Their trunks were damaged from constricting metal stakes, they didn’t have any mulch to absorb moisture and protect their roots from the harsh sun, and the soil was completely dried out.

Vahagn explains that he did what he could to support the mostly overlooked trees: “I usually bring 2-3 gallons of water with me, and on especially dry days I water the trees on the way from my car to the station.” Despite his efforts, he knew they needed additional attention. Aware of TreePeople’s enthusiasm for happy, healthy trees, Vahagn reached out to us for support.

With Vahagn’s passion and our savvy logistics, we coordinated an inspiring tree care event. Despite the harsh sun and high temperature, a multitude of TreePeople staff and volunteers came out to support Vahagn and the trees on Chandler Boulevard near Vineland Avenue.

As we worked to clear trash and water and mulch the trees, the street bustled with skateboarders, dog walkers, and tons of other local folks. Many stopped to inquire about what we were doing and some even offered to help. We were definitely feeling the love and, most importantly, the trees were getting the care they needed. Although still in the process of reaching peak photosynthesis and returning to their characteristic shade of green, the trees are now moist, mulched, and comfortably staked.

Now that those major improvements have been made, Vahagn has graciously agreed to care for the trees by continuing to water as needed and monitor their progress. He is hopeful that as the trees continue to grow, their canopy will provide shade for the cars and people that occupy the block.

If you missed out on this incredible event last weekend, TreePeople has countless upcoming opportunities for everyone in Los Angeles to get involved. Whether you’re a tree novice just learning how to handle a pitchfork or a Citizen Arborist ready to host an event in your community, we have something for everyone! Check out our volunteer calendar to see what’s coming up and to sign up for an event.

Now that this tree care event is complete, Vahagn’s already thinking about the next one. His next stop? The other side of the street!

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.