“I am out here on behalf of my company, Apple. They coordinated this charitable effort to celebrate Earth Day. So I thought it was a great opportunity. I love nature. I love the landscape L.A. has to offer. I go hiking all the time and I wanted to give back and plant a tree. This is the first time I ever planted a tree so it’s a new thing to learn for me. I forgot to consider how many bugs live in the earth. There were a lot that came up and surprised me when digging up those holes, but it was a very rewarding experience. To know that trees can live for centuries, if you think of it that way, you are contributing to the earth for decades and centuries to come. What humans can do to the earth can be so destructive and as a society we are not completely conscious of it. So I think the challenge is really just awareness. I didn’t think to seek out an effort like this. It was presented to me through work and I am really grateful that it came by that way. So the first step is letting people know there are organizations like North East Trees that exist and it’s just so easy to get started. We have so much nature around us that we just don’t realize it. Planting trees is fun. Putting on gloves and getting dirty and being handed a shovel and digging a hole is fun. Just give it a chance.”
“In this part of the city we really have a great population or group of communities that have chosen to live in Northeast L.A. specifically because there’s still a lot of natural space around them. And a lot of the young people we work with are really into and love being up here in the hills. They’ve grown up in this sort of green, culture of green awareness and I think it’s pretty amazing what this new millennial generation with their heightened awareness of all things environmental is great. It’s not that challenging to get them out here and sometimes we have over a hundred high school students when we have our monthly volunteer events. It’s pretty cool. I know it’s hard to describe verbally, but if you’re standing out here you feel this wind going over and across your face, you smell sage in your hand, you look up and you see nothing but sky, and we’re only five minutes from Downtown L.A. standing here. I could be literally in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada’s if I were dropped there. It’s literally that natural and peaceful. There’s no sign of human built structures anywhere. It’s just hills, grass, trees, and birds. I love being out here. It’s incredibly convenient. I invite anyone, especially people that live in this part of the city who don’t know about it to come out to Ascot Hills Park and enjoy the nature here.”
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