Meet a TreePerson: Jim Hardie, Director of Park Operations

Get to know a staff member at TreePeople!

Hey Treeps!

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

Here’s our latest installment in our Meet a TreePerson series!

Today’s TreePerson is Jim Hardie, Director of Park Operations.

Jim made his living as an actor for many years… many years ago. He has been involved with TreePeople in various capacities for 33 years – including working as Director of Forestry Programs in the early 90s, serving on the Board of Directors for 20 years, and creating Once Upon a Canyon Night in 1998 – and donating thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours to make it happen for the past 17 seasons with his wonderful wife, Eileen. He has one terrific son, Jackson, who raises snakes in their garage.

What is your favorite tree? Why?

The Redwood. Inspiring, grounding, beautiful… ancient.

Where are you from originally? What makes it special?

New Jersey. It is called “The Garden State” for a reason. I grew up exploring the woods there.

What inspired you to join TreePeople?

I was frustrated with the environmental non-action of so many individuals and governments in the mid-80s. TreePeople was actually doing tangible work that felt incredibly satisfying and rewarding — putting life in the soil in the too-often harsh and barren Los Angeles landscape.

What’s your favorite TreePeople memory?

Many, many over 34 years. One of the best ones was the Martin Luther King Boulevard project (TreePeople planted 400 trees there in 1990)! Another was planting our homegrown baby sequoias in the Stanislaus Forest! But at the moment I’m particularly thinking of being in our intimate amphitheatre on a beautiful summer night surrounded by a great laughing crowd. Can’t wait for that sort of gathering to be possible again…someday.

What’s your favorite local outdoor space?

Coldwater Canyon Park

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

A Homo sapiens from the Fertile Crescent from around 12,000 B.C. (I’m assuming we’d need an interpreter to communicate well). I would like to find out what he/she thinks about the shift that was happening then from hunting & gathering to a more settled life of farming & animal husbandry.

What’s your favorite environmental book? Why?

Living the Good Life by Helen and Scott Nearing

What’s your most-played song?

Van Morrison’s “Summertime in England” (aka “Common One”)

What’s your favorite home-cooked meal?

Fried rice with any leftovers. Always with garlic & crushed red pepper flakes.

What’s a fun fact about yourself?

My first paid acting gig was playing a clone in a big plastic bag, with my (naked!) body covered with globs of thick gel supposed to appear like ice. Pure show business glamour!