Forest Aid Volunteer Helps Care for 5,000th Tree in Face of Drought

Thanks to the help of our Forestry team and dedicated Forest Aid volunteers, TreePeople has cared for more than 5,000 trees this year! Despite facing a crippling drought, our forest restoration projects pressed on. Unfortunately, the drought prevented our team and volunteer community to plant new trees in the forest this year, but we didn’t let that slow us down. We focused our efforts in the Angeles Forest to solely care for drought-affected trees already planted.

Young tree Forest Aid planted in 2013
Young tree Forest Aid planted in 2013 and 5,000th tree cared for in 2014.

Los Angeles is entering its third year of drought, and as a consequence, trees have suffered. It’s because of these severe conditions that it’s now more important than ever to take charge and come to the trees’ rescue. Caring for these at-risk trees would be impossible without the help of a community dedicated to combating the effects of the drought to help these amazing, integral pieces of our world that clean our air, help our water table and provide shade in our warming climate.

Paul Hamingson
Forest Aid volunteer, Paul Hamingson

“It was emotional to see which trees made it and which ones didn’t.”

Enter Paul Hamingson. Paul is a longtime volunteer with our Forest Aid program and attended every event in the Angeles Forest through this past summer to the fall. He describes the region as the “lungs for the city,” and was one part of a large effort that pulled together to help the threatened trees.

“We were understanding that we got hit with a double whammy because of the drought. The soil wasn’t able to able to accept new trees,” Paul said.

The drought has far reaching effects. As Paul mentioned,  soil is affected during drought; it starts to suffer the effects of desertification becoming less hospitable for new growth. Current conditions have also stressed the US Forest Service, as they need to conserve water to help fight any potential fires. Thankfully, we were able to partner with Burbank Water and Power to procure some lifesaving water for the trees.

“Thanks to Burbank Water and Power for the generous donation of reclaimed water that made this season possible. Most importantly – thanks to all the volunteers that make Forest Aid such a joy to be a part of!” Paul said.

It’s because of his passion and commitment to this program that TreePeople honored him with caring for the 5,000 tree in the Angeles Forest. This milestone carries deep significance. The fact that we were able to have boots on the ground to help this many trees even while being challenged by severe drought conditions was extraordinary and we are incredibly appreciative to volunteers like Paul who helped make it happen.

Again, all of us and the trees thank you, Paul and the other amazing volunteers.

“I love to be up in the mountains. I love to go hiking, so I wanted to give back… After a while, you are getting more out of it than you put into it.”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves, Paul.

By Jessica Jewell

Jessica is TreePeople’s Director of Marketing and Communications. A native Southern Californian, you can find her wandering local trails, hanging out with her sidekick, Penny the Rescue Puppy, on her yoga mat, reading some Phillip K. Dick, or in her kitchen cooking up vegan confections.

Jessica's professional background goes back to her time working at PETA where she worked on celebrity campaigns, and a stint in the entertainment industry, where she worked at Technicolor on their Global Marketing Team.