TreePeople completes construction on one of Los Angeles’ most sustainable buildings – the TreePeople Conference Center  — a  platinum-rated LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) building and includes a 217,000-gallon cistern — underground holding tank — that captures rainwater from the building’s roof and filters runoff from the parking lot to supply TreePeople with water to irrigate the native gardens and trees.


TreePeople is among only 15 agencies worldwide to be honored by the Salt Lake City 2002 Olympic Committee, receiving the Spirit of the Land Environmental Education Award for their Schoolyard Explorers curriculum.


Second Nature, a guide to adapting LA’s Landscape for sustainable living is published by TreePeople, and includes the design recommendations developed by the 1997 design charrette.

1998 – 2001

TreePeople is part of the LADWP’s Cool Schools Program to green campuses throughout the City of Los Angeles. As part of the program, TreePeople retrofits Broadus Elementary School with a stormwater management system including an underground infiltration field that redirects stormwater from surrounding streets to help reduce flooding and recharge the aquifer; and Open Charter Elementary School that receives an underground cistern designed to take stormwater that used to run off the campus and capture and use it to irrigate the landscape.


As a result of the design charrette, TreePeople retrofits a home in South Central Los Angeles as a demonstration site. “Hall House” (home of Mrs. Rozella Hall) was re-landscaped and retrofitted with a 3,600-gallon cistern, a water pump and a dry well. TreePeople invites the media, city officials and local stakeholders to witness the home, as it is bombarded with 4,000 gallons of water as a mock rainstorm.


TreePeople is a part of the leadership team that creates the California Regional Environmental Education Communication network, known as CREEC.  This program of the California Department of Education, is designed to support teachers by providing authentic environmental education resources. TreePeople serves as the Coordinator for the Los Angeles region, supporting 80 school districts, for over 20 years.


Los Angeles County Public Works, as part of an outreach program to address environmental issues, partners with TreePeople to develop and implement an environmental education program primarily aimed at teens. TreePeople develops the Generation Earth program providing professional development training and personalized support to secondary school teachers and students, helping them to take an active role in solving environmental problems and understanding how their actions have a real impact through environmental, service-learning projects. TreePeople continues to this day to hold the Generation Earth contract.


TreePeople holds a charrette – a cross-disciplinary workshop  – bringing together 75 of the nation’s most talented and forward-thinking landscape and building architects, engineers, hydrologists, urban foresters, government officials and community leaders to work in an intensive, fully-integrated process to create a collection of designs to retrofit residential, public, commercial and industrial properties to function as urban forest micro-watersheds and  show how regional policy objectives may be achieved more efficiently through building and retrofitting sites for improved environmental function.


TreePeople launches the Transagency Resources for Environmental and Economic Sustainability (T.R.E.E.S.) The T.R.E.E.S. Project was created to achieve an integrated approach to managing the urban ecosystem as an urban/forest watershed through multi-agency partnerships and an educated, empowered citizenry.  


TreePeople’s largest-ever urban planting — 7 miles long along Martin Luther King Boulevard — plants nearly 400 trees with 3,000 volunteers in one day. The Simple Act of Planting a Tree, by Andy and Katie Lipkis, is published.

1987 – 1988

To help L.A. prepare for its goal of creating citywide mandatory recycling within three years, TreePeople develops a recycling component for its curriculum. During the school year that follows, 60,000 children—double the number stated in the contract—go through the program.


In the days following a devastating fire, TreePeople coordinates volunteers to rescue thousands of waterlogged books from the Los Angeles Central Library. TreePeople volunteers  fly to Africa with 6,000 surplus bare-root fruit trees, set aside in February during the annual local fruit tree distribution — and after researching and matching available trees with suitable recipients, climates, locations, cultures and soil types in five countries. Over the next three years, 1,200 additional trees are distributed. The Citizen Forester Training is established.