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Season's Givings: TreePeople restores nature with the help of volunteers

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Amy Lieu/KPCC

Stephanie Nelson tells KPCC about her experience as a volunteer for TreePeople, an environmental non-profit organization.

This post is part of KPCC's "Season's Givings" series, chronicling volunteer experiences  and opportunities during the holiday season. View a full listing of charitable organizations seeking help this season and let us know your holiday volunteer story!


Los Angeles is often thought of as an urban jungle, but environmental nonprofit TreePeople sees the potential for greener spaces. Their mission is to reach out to local communities in order to restore wildlife in damaged or underused areas of Southern California. 

Their teams plant, restore and care for trees and plants in Angeles National Forest, the Santa Monica Mountains — even on individual school campuses.

Last year, TreePeople planted more than 14,000 trees. Since 1970, the organization has planted over 2 million trees, according to TreePeople. 

Volunteers play a major role in the organization, with more than 11,000 people donating their time in just last year.

Stephanie Nelson is one of them. In March 2011, she began volunteering after seeing the devastation that took place during a fire in the Angeles National Forest. Nearly two years later, she is a volunteer restoration supervisor. 

"I definitely feel like I am doing something good for the environment. I feel like I'm helping to restore areas, but really...I think the work changes me more than I'm changing anything," Nelson said. "I hope that I'm affecting change, but at the end of the day, what really keeps me coming back is that I feel good about what I've done that day. I feel like I've connected with people in my community."

In the next ten years, TreePeople hopes to provide more canopy tree coverage, more access to parks and improve air quality by planting trees and plants native to the area. But they need help.

The organization welcomes volunteers of all ages with a few restrictions. Find out more at their website.

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