TreePeople has a legacy of inspiring activism, but it’s the stories of our volunteers that inspire us to keep coming together to build a sustainable future.
Meet Tim Douglass, a TreePeople volunteer and Mountain Forestry Supervisor.
“We only have one environment and we have a responsibility to take care of it.”
Tim got involved with TreePeople after the Angeles Forest “Station Fire” of 2009. A Starbucks district manager working along the 210 corridor south of the forest, his concern grew as the fire burned 160,577 acres. He contacted the Forest Service to find out how he could help restore the damaged landscape, and they encouraged him to call us. Since then, he and many of his Starbucks employees have regularly participated in a variety of our events, including Angeles Forest restorations, school plantings, and the annual fruit tree distributions. Tim is also a Mountain Forestry restoration supervisor in the Angeles.
Paying it forward
Being proactive in his community comes naturally to Tim; it’s something he learned from his parents, and a value he’ll pass on to his own kids. Thinking about the planet that future generations will inherit is a large part of what motivates him to act now, and often.
“You get what you give back. Some of these trees that l’m planting today I may not see in my lifetime, but I know that my kids’ kids could sit under one of these trees,” Tim said. “I have three children in high school and I think about what kind of world I’m leaving for them.”
“So much of the world is [only concerned with] what we can use right now,” he added. “Caring for trees and planting trees will help ensure that there’s an environment left for my kids to enjoy.”
“If you go out to the Angeles and after two or three hours of planting you step back and see what you did, and then you imagine what it will look like 10, 20 years from now—it brings me a lot of joy to know we restored its beauty after the fires.”
Planting the seed
In addition to Tim’s forestry restoration work, he’s also a regular at school plantings and fruit tree distributions. At those events, he gets to enjoy some instant gratification when he sees kids react to their new greener playgrounds, or when families take fruit trees home for the first time.
Getting to see firsthand the way his contributions affect people now, in the present, is its own reward, Tim said.
He also believes it’s important to educate kids early, like at the elementary school level. “It’s planting a seed that they’ll take over when you’re either long gone or too old to do the work.”
When people benefit from our events in their community, they become part of a network of people who care, and who are now armed with knowledge to make their own communities more sustainable. Like Tim, they’re helping to create a better future for their own families.
“When I think of TreePeople I really think of having a positive impact on others. We did something small to make our biosphere a little more healthy. I’m doing what I can to ensure the environment survives,” said Tim.
The sounds of silence
When he’s not in the forest, Tim likes to sing along to the Violent Femmes. “Blister in the Sun matches my off-key singing voice the best,” he said.
And if a tree falls in the Angeles forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?
“I believe it says ‘ouch,’ Tim said.
You can join Tim and more TreePeople volunteers in the Angeles this weekend! Or check out our calendar to see a list of events like upcoming school plantings and mountain restorations. You can also participate in a special program for our volunteers and earn a free Moonlight Hike or TreePeople throwback tee shirt!