Across two weekends last month, more than 200 volunteers, kids, parents, teachers and TreePeople staff gathered to put 46 trees in the ground at El Dorado Elementary School in Sylmar, deep in the San Fernando Valley.
Volunteers watch a tree planting demonstration at El Dorado Elementary School.
We primed the location ahead of the big day by tearing out 356 sq ft of asphalt to give the trees a nice, porous home to lay their roots in.
The first planting was on a sunny, windy day. Leaves lightly grazed peoples’ feet as they listened to LA Councilmember Felipe Fuentes set the tone as he announced the work ahead and his enthusiasm to partner with his community and TreePeople to green the campus.
LA Councilmember Felipe Fuentes speaks to volunteers at El Dorado Elementary School.
Looking across the expansive asphalt covering this schoolyard, it was clear to see these kids needed a shady reprieve—a pop of color and some clean air to breathe.
Young girl at the El Dorado Elementary School tree planting.
“Trees need people. People need trees. Welcome Smokey and Cubby,” echoed from across the yard as a group of volunteers performed a naming ceremony for two newly planted Crepe Myrtles.
Lilia Cervantes, a Teacher’s Assistant at the school’s Learning Center was beaming as her group prepped a couple Western Redbuds.
“These trees will be here for many years,” Cervantes said.
“That’s why it’s important to bring trees in here like this: it shows a new beginning and life. I’m looking forward to the springtime when these trees blossom—it’s going to be beautiful and lift our spirits,” she shared.
TreePeople volunteers demonstrating how to plant trees on the school campus.
Trees carry many benefits beyond making schools more beautiful. They also are proven to be beacons of public health. Green schools are shown to increase children’s physical health by providing clean air and areas conducive for play. They even lower rates of ADHD.
The children and adults worked hard across the campus digging, staking and mulching to give the young trees a healthy start. The attendance of Councilmember Fuentes brought the community even closer as he, too, got his hands dirty to green the school.
LA Councilmember Felipe Fuentes helps a group of children prep the ground for a new tree.
Events such as this one that bring communities together are a cornerstone of our mission. The support and dedication of the community to make Eldorado Elementary School more livable may seem like a small step, but it’s a crucial demonstration that together, people can make a difference in their neighborhoods and the world.