by Perrine Vaillant, Guest Author
On Saturday, March 8, 2014, more than three hundred volunteers gathered for Arbor Day to plant and care for trees on Grand Ave, the Los Angeles street that serves as an entrance to El Segundo. Officials such as El Segundo Mayor Bill Fisher or Los Angeles Chief Sustainability Officer Matt Petersen came to support Tree Musketeers’ major event, organized by a team of dedicated young environmental leaders.
This was Tree Musketeers’ 27th annual Arbor Day event. The day had been planned by the organization’s Youth Management Team (a team of 10 environmental leaders, aged 13 to 17), along with a taskforce of community leaders.
At 9:30am, groups of volunteers started planting 32 new trees and caring for close to a hundred existing ones on Grand Ave. People of all ages came with their families or as part of a group from one of the local schools or businesses (Chevron only brought 100 volunteers, on top of being the presenting sponsor).
“At a time of dramatic drought, we thought it was important to expand and care for the tree canopy located on Grand Ave, a heat island. When it doesn’t rain, the shade that trees offer keeps the land from baking dry. Trees keep our city cool, but overall they keep our communities healthier and safer,” explained Julian Poyourow who led Tree Musketeers’ Youth Management Team in their Arbor Day planning.
The warm weather and the ocean breeze created perfect conditions for volunteers to enjoy their time and keep their enthusiasm up. By noon the work was done and everyone was rewarded with lunch, provided by Chevron and Jersey Mike’s, and prizes donated by local businesses.
During the closing ceremony, officials addressed the crowd: Matt Stauffer from Assembly Member Steve Bradford’s office and Jennifer Zivkovic from Senator Ted Lieu’s office gave certificates to Tree Musketeers’ Youth Managers. Tara Church, co-founder of Tree Musketeers and current Chair of its Board, recalled the first Arbor Day event organized by the organization in 1988 and thanked the current Youth Management Team for keeping the spirit of the founding members alive.
El Segundo Mayor Bill Fisher applauded the long-time collaboration between the city and Tree Musketeers, “An important partner and friend,” and stressed Tree Musketeers’ instrumental role in beautifying El Segundo and reaching the “Tree City USA” status. Finally, representing Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, the city’s Chief Sustainability Officer, Matt Petersen praised the work of Tree Musketeers’ young leaders: “They are our future!” He also encouraged future joint environmental projects between Los Angeles and South Bay cities.
This was Tree Musketeers’ 27th Arbor Day. The event taskforce included Bill Fisher and Marie Fellhauer of El Segundo City Council, Lily Craig of Chevron, Eric Busch of Kiwanis, Mike Rotolo of TG Construction, Tree Musketeers’ Youth Managers Julian Poyourow and Samantha Cano, and Tree Musketeers’ staff members Gail Church, James Sanchez, Ariel Tolefree and Perrine Vaillant.
The organization will be hosting a fundraiser at Jersey Mike’s on Saturday March 15th at the El Segundo restaurant, information and flyers to bring to participate are available at www.treemusketeers.org.