Former Resident’s Legacy Lives on in the City of Bell

Our urban forestry work has a special way of bringing people together by shining a light on what trees can mean to us and to those we love. 

We’re called TreePeople because we know that trees and people need each other, and it’s a beautiful sight to see when that relationship manifests in expanded tree canopy and Angelenos connecting with loved ones across our county. 

This month, we were honored to be a part of remembering the former City of Bell resident Chuck Standing. He was a PhD graduate in Chemical Engineering who worked in the food industry in his native Minnesota, then Illinois, and eventually California. He was passionate about maintaining greenspaces and spent countless hours of his free time watering trees in his neighborhood, protecting them from disease and working with the local government to develop and maintain urban canopies.

We guided the process of planting more than 30 trees in order to provide shade, increase clean air and canopy cover for the Bell community in his memory. This gift from the Standing Family was the perfect way to honor Chuck’s legacy. 

Bell Ave Tree Planting

We were joined by Mayor of Bell Ali Saleh, California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, youth from both C5 and the California Conservation Corps, and community members eager to get their hands in the soil.

Bell Ave Tree Planting

TreePeople’s Director of Major Gifts, Courtney Gross, helped the family coordinate the Standing Family’s vision into a reality.

“I am beyond thrilled that we have over 30 trees in the ground in the City of Bell to honor the legacy of Chuck Standing, fulfill the Standing’s family’s goals with their gift, and to provide the residents of the City of Bell with trees that will increase the urban canopy, provide shade and beauty for years to come,” Gross said.

In a touching turn of events, more loved ones were able to connect during this planting. Karla Cardenas, a 23-year-old Pasadena City College student, was able to honor her grandfather, José Gabriel, by naming a tree after him. Gabriel spends lots of time in the outdoors to this day and inspires his granddaughter to get outside. 

He’s the reason why I’m into wanting to be in the outdoors… It makes me happy just seeing [more trees in Bell],” Cardenas said. 

Bell Ave Tree Planting
Karla Cardenas with the tree she named after her grandfather

Gabriel and all of his neighbors will be able to start to reap the benefits of the newly planted trees and at the same time know that Bell Avenue will be a healthier, cooler, and greener street for future generations.

There’s something to be said about our relationship with the environment – it brings us closer not only to our roots but also to each other. It’s a privilege to be stewards of the lands we support and to help people connect with loved ones who valued the natural world just as much as we do. 

Thank you to everyone who came to this event and helped legacies like those of Chuck Standing to live on.