A Tree Grows on Ventura Boulevard!

It's pretty hard to plant a tree.  I don't know how Mother Nature does it all by herself.  For the Tarzana Chamber of Commerce sponsored Million Trees LA event held in conjunction with Green Youth Movement in Woodland Hills it looked like we needed The LA Conservation Corps, The US Forest Service, The Fire Department, The Department of Public Works, Politicians, Professional Environmentalists, Weekend Gardeners, High School Volunteers, and in what I could only describe as an innovative arborist trend, a crew of Aerobics Teachers, to name a few. We were supplied traffic cones, shovels, picks and a water truck. Personally, I also required some organic snacks, caffeinated beverages and a custom play list for the DJ as well as change for the parking meter.  


We were treated to an accelerated Advanced Placement roadside education course in forestry with surprisingly philosophical, political and lyrical undertones: "No Tree can thrive if planted, too low or too deep or too high" and " A square boxed tree will never fit into a round hole." There was "Dormant is Not Dead! ",  "Orient The Gingko" and "Massage the Tree well" (although in all fairness, according to my frantically scrawled notes, this last one has more to do with massaging the dirt of the well around the tree to hold the water than actual tree hugging).  And my favorite, soon to be a best selling t-shirt: "Remember to Release The Tree!"

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Now, don't get me wrong, in my best gardening  Tory Birch ballet flats and farming True Religion capris, I was fully prepared to enjoy the morning  "Freeing the Trees!" Still, it took a six year old whose favorite book was The Lorax to remark, "I'm so ready to plant!" to get everyone rolled out and up and down the street and get to the digging. 

And what a sight it was: a true cooperative effort to give back to the community with everyone participating at their own level in their own specialty. Divided into teams with a Forest Ranger in charge of us so we didn't hurt ourselves or the trees, the royal "we" managed to plant 25, 36 inch boxed trees in 2 hours along a busy urban corridor. I marvelled at the logistics of a fairly large scale project and the apparent inverse proportion of any serious carbon footprint anomalies, de-construction accidents or expensive head injuries (after all we were digging by hand with huge picks and ambulances use a lot of  gas!) with the resultant visible environmental  improvement  to our concrete paradise: A re-greening project that actually re-greened as its project!


On the upside, we met wonderful new friends with excellent green branding opportunities and are now singularly emotionally invested in the survival of a lone male Gingko tree on the corner of Serrania and Ventura Boulevard, who I figure owes me everything including a card at Christmas. And although Mother Nature is the ultimate multi-tasking mom and can do it all by herself, as one busy mom to another, I'm pretty sure all of our help is appreciated– well, at least the help of those volunteers among us like my 8 year-old who were doing the actual work.  As a community, we were able in a single morning to plant a small forest where one had been taken away- small in the scheme of God's great plan but a pretty big idea from our Climate Community Citizen of the Week, Laura Webber who at the age of 12, started the 4-H Million Tree Project, 3 years ago and 68,000 trees planted later, believes, "any day is a good day to plant a tree" or better yet experience the aerobic value of forestry even if I did sprain a finger taking notes.

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