TreePeople Hosts 70 Fullbright Scholars

I’ve shared our park on hundreds of tours in my six-year tenure at TreePeople including curious residents, City Council staff, State Legislators and even the Mayor of a Mexican city. All these experiences have been rewarding. However, this past week, we had the unique pleasure of hosting 70 Fulbright Scholarship students.

The group was having their annual enrichment seminar centered on “Civic Engagement – Environmental Initiatives for a Sustainable Future,” which  fits right in with our work here in Los Angeles. The students, mostly in graduate schools around the US, are as geographically diverse as you can get – from Afghanistan to Zambia. Their interests were just as eclectic as their home countries, too. Many students were studying science and environment-related activities, but others focused on everything from education policy, theater, visual arts and other disciplines.

Our Director of Research, Edith de Guzman and I gave the group a walk-through of the demonstration elements in the park, and discussed our programs, policy work and goals.

The scholars were interested in hearing how a place like LA can react quickly enough to lift itself out of the drought and shift itself into a position to deal with the impending issues that accompany climate instability.

After  the tour, we took the group inside our Platinum LEED certified Conference Center. I had some apprehension the group wasn’t going to be interested in another hour of dialogue, but as Edith said, “If a roomful of Fulbright-ers can’t carry on a conversation, who can?”

I’d like to assume every group we host is enriched by the tour experience, and I can say there’s always something I take away from each one. This tour was something truly special, though. To think some of the smartest and driven people from every corner of the world are compelled to take our message of hope with them is quite remarkable.

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.