If you asked TreePeople staff what they remember most from our tree planting events it would probably be the smiles of children getting the chance to play in the dirt, or the stories of community members on why they chose to spend their weekends volunteering and giving back. But what happens behind the scenes to build to our event days is a story of countless hours of dedication and planning. It’s the story of the long work of building inroads and trust with communities and making sure that their voices and their needs are brought to the forefront of everything that we do. On Saturday, September 25, the results of all that hard work finally came to fruition at TreePeople’s planting kickoff in Lynwood, CA.
“As a community organizer for TreePeople I’m keenly aware that relationship building is the most important aspect of my work… The build up to an event like this has been years in the making,” said Mario Dagonel, TreePeople’s Senior Manager of Community Organizing. “Our current scope of work in the city of Lynwood involves planting one thousand shade trees in areas residents have helped us to identify. This project is the culmination of a tree prioritization survey focused on giving residents ownership and agency in the future of Urban forestry management in their community.”
The first volunteers started to arrive well before the planting was set to begin. What started as a steady trickle of community members soon swelled into a crowd of all ages — local students, nearby residents looking to green their neighborhood, teachers, parents, as well as volunteers from across Southern California — ready to help expand Lynwood’s tree canopy. Over 90 volunteers showed up to help TreePeople plant our first trees in Lynwood. That turn out would not have been possible if it wasn’t for the efforts of Brenda Citlalicue, a teacher in Lynwood who encouraged her students to come and help create a greener future for the city and its residents.
“Across the board our work is uplifted by our community champions and Lynwood has more than a few stand outs. Brenda Citlalicue is a high school teacher who was an engine that drove fellow faculty, students and parents to come out and participate,” said Dagonel. “If you were on hand… you would have witnessed council members working alongside educators, working alongside students, working alongside residents, working alongside TreePeople. Throughout this process we witnessed time and time again that civic leaders and community members are willing to work together to secure a more climate resilient future for Lynwood.”
This is just the beginning for TreePeople in Lynwood. Not only is TreePeople dedicated to working with the community to help them build cooling canopies of shade by planting 1000 new trees in Lynwood, but we’re also dedicated to nurturing and caring for those trees to make sure that they thrive and benefit Lynwood residents for generations to come.
To find a volunteer event near you. Visit www.treepeople.org/volunteer.