Meet a TreePerson: Miguel Vargas, Community Organizer

Miguel Vargas (right)

Hey Treeps!

We’re all TreePeople — some of us just happen to work here. 

And we want to get to know each and every TreePerson out there, so we thought we’d start by introducing ourselves. 

We’re starting our Meet a TreePerson series! Twice a week, we’ll interview a staff member so we can all get to know each other a little better!

Our first TreePerson is Miguel Vargas, Community Organizer in Southeast Los Angeles.

Miguel started as a volunteer at TreePeople, planting trees and hanging out with his friends. Once he realized the huge impact the work was having in his community, he decided to get more involved and came on-board as staff.  Miguel is now a Community Organizer in Southeast Los Angeles and leads tree care and planting events there. His favorite part of TreePeople is being able to interact with the people and volunteers from the different communities around Los Angeles, California and beyond. Miguel earned a B.A. in Journalism and a Minor in Communications Studies from California State University, Long Beach.

What is your favorite tree? Why?

The Sequoia. They’re nature’s giants. They’re so majestic and they last for centuries. 

Where are you from originally? What makes it special?

I’m from the City of Huntington Park. I’m 23 and I’ve lived here my entire life. It’s special because it is where I learned about my culture, our traditions and what community is all about. It is also how I was introduced to this pretty awesome organization named TreePeople.

What inspired you to join TreePeople?

My friends, who I consider family, inspired me to join TreePeople. I started out as a volunteer, hanging out with friends every weekend planting trees. I started falling in love with it and I turned my volunteering into a job. Honestly, we were just planting the trees for fun when we started and here I am eight years later.

What’s your favorite TreePeople memory?

My favorite memory is doing a tree planting event in Huntington Park with a group from Indonesia. We planted around 20 trees and they were working really hard but also cracking jokes and telling stories about their hometowns. The day flew by and it was so much fun. They planted all of the trees that day and gave each tree a name based on a city from Indonesia.

What’s your favorite local outdoor space?

Griffith Park/The Observatory.

If you could have dinner with any person (living or dead) who would it be and why?

I will probably have dinner with Corey Taylor, the lead singer of the band Slipknot. He just seems like a down to earth guy who is not afraid to tell you what he honestly thinks on every subject.

What’s your favorite environmental book? Why?

My favorite environmental book would be The Lorax. It is such a fun book to read and it kind of reflects what we do at TreePeople.

What’s your most-played song?

My most played song is between “I Ran (So Far Away)” by A Flock of Seagulls and “Unsainted” by Slipknot.

What’s your favorite home-cooked meal?

My favorite is when my mom makes quesadillas or birria.

What’s a fun fact about yourself?

I completed the Los Angeles Marathon back in 2014.