Education, Conservation, and the TreePeople

Mar 30, 2009 by Lisa Newton

The caretakers and managers of Coldwater Canyon Park are the TreePeople, a non-profit organization whose mission is “To inspire the people of Los Angeles to take personal responsibility for the urban forest—educating, training, and supporting them as they plant and care for trees, and improve the neighborhoods in which they live, learn, work and play.”

Located at the top of Mulholland Drive, their eco message starts as soon as you enter the Parking Grove aka parking lot, where the following sign is posted:

I could feel the variation in heat of the different asphalts, by touching the surfaces in the sign above. The  TreePeople practice what they preach as their Parking Grove was paved with this light asphalt, and they incorporated recycled material in their curb bumpers, which were more like a hard plastic than cement.

As you walk into the hilltop their educational program literally unfolds before you:

All “about helping nature heal our cities,” the TreePeople offer sustainable solutions to urban ecosystem problems.

Through the La Krutz Urban Watershed Garden, children and adults can learn how to put water conservation to work in their own homes and neighborhoods:

You’ll notice that throughout this post, I’m using informational signs, which were all found at the TreePeople Center. They put their message into the best words possible.

The TreePeople Conference Center is one of the best examples I’ve seen for sustainability and eco-friendliness. By using such materials and procedures as:

Non toxic cotton insulation: Created from scraps of denim left over from the manufacture of blue jeans

Energy efficient window glazing: Keeps out solar heat while letting in visible light

Reclaimed lumber for solar shades: Made from planks of Douglas fir salvaged from the historic fire station once located in the park

Recycled Structural Steel: Contains both pre- and post-consumer consumer recycled waste

Concrete in both roof and floor: Absorbs heat during the day and releases heat in the evening. The concrete contains 50% fly ash, a by-product of coal burning power plants that is usually dumped in landfills.

In the business of planting and growing trees, the TreePeople maintain the W.M. Keck Foundation Nursery. Even before Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa launched his MillionTreeLA program, which the TreePeople are involved in, their nursery was growing seeds into seedling:

Another current project the TreePeople is working on is building cisterns to catch rainwater, filter it, and then reuse it at a local elementary school:

If you’d like more information on the TreePeople, you can become a member here or check out their calendar for upcoming events.

If you don’t live in LA, but would like to spread the eco-message of planting trees in your neighborhood, TreeLink will give you a heads-up on other US tree organizations.

What could be more natural than planting a tree while Travelin’ Local?

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9 Responses to “Education, Conservation, and the TreePeople”

  1. Mark says:

    How fabulous is this? VERY! Every waterfall starts with a drop or should we say every forest starts with a tree! Very nice!


  2. Lisa's Chaos says:

    I love that here when they lumber an area they have to replant. And our little city is so green, that’s one of the things that attracted us. :)

    Lisa’s Chaos’s last blog post..Chiming Macro Monday


  3. David says:

    Lisa, once again, you continue to educate me about the many places, people, and things here that I can both visit and enjoy.

    TreePeople is another perfect example of people who lead by doing.


  4. LisaNewton says:

    @ Mark I couldn’t agree more; one tree can start a forest.

    @ Lisa’s Chaos I remember traveling through Washington and seeing tree-replanting in action. There were signs telling visitors when the trees had been planted. It was great to watch the trees get larger and the signs got older.

    @ David The TreePeople are a wonderful organization, and LA definitely needs to be creative in the area of water conservation. Did you watch the video?


  5. Diane C. says:

    Enjoyed learning about the Treepeople and their projects. It would helpful if more desert cities would collect rain water, use light colored paving and plant more shade trees.

    Diane C.’s last blog post..Cactus Monday – First Blooms


  6. David says:

    Lisa, yes I watched the video. It is simple enough to harvest rainwater by using Cisterns. It boggles the mind that the “brain trust” decided and designed for all sewage and debris to flow through the river and the channels here into the sea.


  7. LisaNewton says:

    @ Diane C. They are definitely a group to watch. I’d be curious to know how much the desert cities are using solar power. That would seem to be where the “power” is in the desert.

    @ David I totally agree. I hope to “see” more of these cisterns popping up here in LA.


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