California is currently experiencing the worst drought in history, with 2014 being the driest year ever recorded. In addition, Los Angeles got an air quality rating of “F” from the American Lung Association. In response, ACE Action Fellows in Los Angeles have partnered with TreePeople and City Plants to distribute and plant trees in open spaces throughout the city.
These trees can help mitigate the effects of drought by capturing water in their canopies and sinking that water into the local aquifer, bolstering the regional water supply. At the same time, they also help absorb pollutants from the air: improving general air quality and lower the region’s carbon footprint. In one year, an acre of mature trees can absorb the same amount of CO2 that would be emitted by a car driven 26,000 miles.
In August, 2014, the Action Fellows attended a day long training with TreePeople and City Plants at City Hall. At the training,the Fellows were taught how to organize local tree adoption and tree care events including:
- Securing the venue
- Getting the word out to the community by going door to door, posting flyers and making announcements at City Council meetings
- Delegating tasks to their friends and club members
- Working with our partners at City Plants to run the event on the day of
- Teaching community members how to care their trees once they are planted
After the training, the Fellows began working to organize at least one tree care or tree planting event per month. The initial goal of the campaign was to distribute 500 fruit trees. So far, the students have given away over 600 at tree adoption events. They’ve also helped to care for over 300 drought-stricken trees in Los Angeles: organizing events for watering, pruning and mulching existing trees. They have gained career development skills, such as delegation, group facilitation, and public speaking, while leading their peers and community members in tree planting and tree care events.
By the Numbers
- 600 trees distributed and planted
- 300 existing trees cared for
- 6 tree adoption and tree care events organized by the Fellows
About City Plants
City Plants’ mission is “to expand and maintain LA’s green canopy, with particular focus on low-canopy communities; to promote healthy living; and to create jobs.” They work to provide residents with trees, plant trees in “low-canopy” neighborhoods and train neighbors in caring for trees. In addition to helping train the ACE Action Fellows, they have also provided trees for the campaign.
TreePeople’s mission is to “inspire and support the people of LA to come together to plant and care for trees, harvest the rain, and renew depleted landscapes. They work with schools, neighborhoods and local government agencies to “grow a greener, shadier and more water-secure city.” They’ve hosted trainings for ACE students in the past and, along with City Plants, helped train the Los Angeles Action Fellows to organize tree planting events.