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As TreePeople’s Urban Forestry Manager, it’s my job is to help communities organize and run tree plantings, usually in their neighborhoods.

The first event I ever supported was fantastic but, admittedly, challenging. By the time our volunteers were ready to plant the last tree of the day, I could tell that the team’s energy was beginning to fade. I put on my cheeriest and most encouraging face, ready to pump the crew up, only to be upstaged by something unexpected.

Three small siblings who lived in the adjacent house had come out to see what we were doing, and asked if they could help. Their excitement was infectious.

treepeople2

Photo courtesy of TreePeople

It reminded me why we do this work. We were planting this tree so these children could enjoy it. I imagined the memories they’d make, playing under its shade. I thought about how this tree would provide them clean air, giving them a safe and healthy place to grow up. I wondered if this formative experience would instill, even slightly, a desire to care for the environment. With a little TLC, their new tree–which the kids named “Carlos Lucky”–will live a long, full life.

That’s why I love our Citizen Forester Program. It gives us the opportunity to empower Angelenos to organize memories like these their own neighborhoods. The initial workshop covers all the essential skills necessary to coordinate a tree planting event of 12 to 25 trees–everything from gathering community support, to collecting the right permits, to choosing the correct tree species and more.

Photo courtesy of TreePeople.

Photo courtesy of TreePeople.

Think you might want to become a Citizen Forester? Get started in THREE easy steps!

  • Volunteer with TreePeople twice to learn our basic process to plant trees!
  • Register for the next workshop on Saturday, September 17th.
  • Take a walk in your neighborhood. Start thinking about where in your neighborhood you’d like to see more trees!

Excited to get started and can’t wait until September? Email us to get things in motion! (But remember: planting season begins in October!)

This article originally appeared on TreePeople

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