Attention shoppers! Step away from the Santa sweaters and back off from “It’s a Wonderful Life” on DVD.
If you’ve run out of gift ideas, consider a living tree planted and cared for by someone else. Offered by , the annual Holiday Tree Dedication stands out as a low- tech, memorable way to honor people, pets, friends, relatives and mentors, past and present. Here’s how it works: For $25, TreePeople will plant one seedling or sapling and send a personalized holiday card to the recipient. For $100 you get a grove of five trees plus a holiday-themed certificate commemorating the occasion.
The tree gifts can be purchased online at www.treepeople.org or by phone 818 753-8733.
The Holiday Tree Dedication program doubles as a grassroots fundraiser to finance the planting program responsible for thousands of new trees now thriving from Studio City to the forests and points in between.
And the gift program is so user-friendly that you can have your tree and plant it too.
Senior Director of Development and Marketing Terese Tarantino Greco encourages this hands-on approach. “If you volunteer for a planting event, you can name the tree, which makes you feel more attached to it,” she says. “After you’ve done all the work of planting, we circle around the tree and chant a song ‘trees need people, people need trees.’”
If that sounds a little too Kumbaya for your tastes, skip the shovel and spade. TreePeople volunteers are happy to all the dirty work. Says Tarantino Greco, “We have a trained green team experienced at how to plant the trees, how to take care of them, and after five years how to insure their survival.”
The team’s expertise includes knowing how to pair the right tree in the right location. Pines for example do well in forests, native oaks in urban areas.
The organization’s staffers have had plenty of practice at sprucing up the Los Angeles area. Founded in 1973, TreePeople has trained hundreds of Restoration Supervisors who know the right way to plant trees to maximize their chances for a long and leafy life.
They have re-forested the Angeles National Forest and The Santa Monica Mountains; provided shade trees on school and office campuses; and restored woodlands devastated from fires, neglect or other natural causes. So far this year, the team oversaw 23,000 tree plantings. The outfit’s three-year goal is to install 70,000 trees.
Some gift givers or recipient might want to chart the progress of their specific dedication tree. That’s not going to happen, Tarantino Greco explains. “We are unable to place markings or identifiers on trees nor can we tell you the exact location. But it’s definitely in L.A. County.”
Tarantino Greco encourages Holiday Tree Dedication participants to attend neighborhood plantings. “All of our tree dedicators and recipients get to participate in all the planning, planting and caring events.” So take your cue from the Stephen Stills song “if you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with.”
Upcoming Tree People events include a December 4 intervention at Topanga Creek to help restore the creek-side native vegetation that has been planted with a focus on watering and weeding to vanquish non-native invasive plants. TP members Brian Rekart, Cody Chappel and the Mountains Restoration Trust welcome new volunteers for the effort.
Also slated for December 4, TreePeople members will gather at PricewaterhouseCoopers Park in Van Nuys to plant 30 Flowering Cherry trees as part of a 100-tree planting project.
Later that week, on Friday, December 9, Park Work Day! takes place at TreePeople’s 45-acre beautifully forested headquarters atop Mulholland Dr. Volunteers are invited to maintain the trails, remove invasive plants, re-grade slopes and work in the seedling nursery.
TreePeople’s gift program and green events all contribute to the shady relief everyone craves on the Valley’s 100 degree scorchers. As Tarantino Greco explains: “More trees means cooler temperatures, cleaner air, replenished groundwater supplies. Expanding the tree canopy over L.A. remains one of our central goals.”
For more details about Holiday Tree Dedication program, visit , call by phone at 818 753-8733, or reach out by snail mail to TreePeople Tree Dedications, 12601 Mullholland Dr., Beverly Hills 90210.