Saving The Environment – One Tree At A Time – With TreePeople

When I first heard of TreePeople, I was wondering if it was an organization for people who love trees or if it was a secret organization of the “Ents” from Lord of the Rings.  It turns out the former is correct, and the efforts of TreePeople are all about inspiring the people of Los Angeles to plant and care for trees. Their work becomes more important as the city continues to grow and we pave over much of its green beauty. I have always been a nature lover and have passed this trait down to my family, so that with each generation, we continue to respect the Earth and do our part to sustain her beauty. Nature and motherhood go hand in hand.

I noticed that as the world begins to rely more and more on technology, nature takes a back seat. It’s like we think the only way forward is by digitizing everything and spreading the concrete jungle as far as the eye can see. What so many fail to realize is just how critical trees are to our survival. Apart from the fact that plants provide the very air that we need, there are many reasons to turn LA green.

Concrete scorches in the sun—it doesn’t provide the same safe haven as lush green trees.  At the same time, the more rivers we pave over, the less water we have available because it cannot soak into the ground where we need it. We need to replace the concrete jungle with a green one and let nature do its job; that way we can restore healthy soil, conserve water and harvest the rain.

I strive to pass these ideals onto my children, which is why on a brisk fall morning I found myself and my daughter in the Santa Monica Mountains at a TreePeople restoration event. Surrounded by nature, we were instructed in how to remove invasive species and replace them with natives, making the mountains habitable to local animals and insects and stronger in the face of disasters such as fire. Thrilled, we chose the tree that we would plant that morning and got going!

My daughter and I dug our hands and tools into the earth, taking care to follow each step we learned earlier in the morning to give the tree the best chance of living a long, healthy life. Just we were planting a tree into the Earth, I was planting the seed of caring for this planet in my daughter’s heart.

They say that the Santa Monica Mountains are the lungs of Los Angeles because they provide so much oxygen to surrounding areas far and wide. We were proud to know we helped people to breathe a little easier, that we made our local mountains greener and stronger, that we gave places for native animals and plants to live, and that we helped to build and clean our waterways between the Santa Monica Mountains and the ocean.

It felt good taking care of our Mother Earth, just as I take care of my daughter and my mother took care of me. This Mother’s Day, TreePeople is offering an opportunity to do the same with a tree dedication. Show the mom in your life that she’s your world by giving her the Earth. Give the gift of trees.

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Join #KidsToParks Day and Discover Mother Nature’s Biodiversity

Has your child ever wanted to sit in the middle of the trail and inspect bugs, or count how many bright yellow flowers line the neighborhood pond? Well, the National Park Trust, in association with National Geographic Kids wants to give them a chance to channel their inner naturalist.

This Saturday, May 21, 2016 marks the 6th annual Kids to Parks Day, encouraging families all across the U.S. to get outside into the great outdoors to play, protect and preserve our wonderful natural landscape. Organized by the National Park Trust and supported by a large group of regional and local groups and organizations, Kids to Parks Day is just one way to instill in our children an active lifestyle full of exploration and discovery.

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For the past decade, leading up to the National Park Service’s Centennial Celebration, the NPS and National Geographic have been leading BioBlitz community events at a different national park each year. And the biggest BioBlitz blitz is happening now, with over 250 scheduled for 2016, culminating in a cornerstone nationwide event to celebrate Kids To Parks Day.

If you’ve never participated in a BioBlitz, you have a lot to look forward to this Saturday, May 21st, because in Southern California there are four biodiversity festivals to choose from. Join scientists, students, teachers and your community as we work together to identify, count, and log the local diversity of our natural places, animals, plants, fungi and other organisms.

Want to join a BioBlitz? Here’s what you need to know:

Joshua Tree National Park
Ethno-botanical BioBlitz
May 21, 2016 from 9am – 4pm
Joshua Tree National Park Oasis Visitor Center
74485 National Park Drive, Twentynine Palms, CA

Channel Islands National Park
BioBlitz and Biodiversity Festival
May 21, 2016 from 9am – 4pm
Channel Islands National Park visitor center in the Ventura Harbor
1901 Spinnaker Drive Ventura, CA 93001

Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area
Biodiversity and Science Festival
May 21, 2016 from 10am – 4pm
Paramount Ranch
2903 Cornell Road, Agoura Hills, CA, 91301

Cabrillo National Monument
Biodiversity Festival
May 21, 2016 rom 9am – 8pm
Cabrillo National Monument
1800 Cabrillo Memorial Dr., San Diego, Ca. 92025

Don’t live in Southern California? Check out National Geographic’s BioBlitz events map to join forces in your own community!

[Family Volunteering Series Pt. 2] Teaching Tots the Importance of Environmental Stewardship

I’m a firm believer that modeling is the most effective way to teach my daughter responsible and respectful behavior. I don’t always succeed. I lose patience. Then, I take a few deep breaths and continue on my ever-evolving quest to act as I wish to be emulated.
There’s no question that being a mother continually pushes me to examine and improve my own behavior and I am always looking for positive and fun ways to allow my little peanut to experience the grace of caring for Mother Nature. After a quasi-successful Heal The Bay Vencie Beach CleanUp last month and a almost 3-week ordeal with a sick toddler, we were more than ready to jump back in to the swing of things! Cue TreePeople!
buckets and kids planting trees
TreePeople!
We have hiked passed TreePeople‘s compound on a popular trail here in Los Angeles countless times and I have been looking forward to the time when Vivi would be old enough to participate in their great nature programs and volunteer opportunities.
Tree People’s first planting project in 1970 was led by visionary 15-year-old Andy Lipkis. Their mission for the past almost 40 years has been to inspire, engage and support people to take personal responsibility for the urban environment, making it safe, healthy, fun and sustainable and to share the process as a model for the world. How inspiring!

I was SO in!! Fellow mommy hiker and partner in crime, Megan was, as always, IN too with her little man! I couldn’t WAIT to wake up, pack up the fam and trek out to gorgeous Calabasas to help expand native habitat along Cienega sin Nombre (No Name Creek) and in the valley preserve to protect our animals and birds. 

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Not a bad working environment!
What better way to engage small people in environmental stewardship than to give them a pile of dirt and water!

planting trees with toddlers
Vivi & David preparing the soil
It was a splendid way to spend much-needed family time together while teaching our babes how to work together to complete a task! My hubby also did a blog on our TreePeople adventure!
Work hard, play hard Dad!
Learning the proper ‘dibbler’ technique!
We had SO much fun volunteering for TreePeople that we decided to do this once a month! 
The family that plants together, stays together!