TreePeople workshops on harvesting rainwater, replacing lawn

The May 4 workshops run by TreePeople will include lessons on planting trees, replacing lawn and harvesting rainwater.
(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

Sustainably minded Angelenos can head to Coldwater Canyon on Saturday and TreePeople’s Center for Community Forestry, where the environmental nonprofit is hosting workshops on rainwater harvesting, lawn replacement and tree planting.

For three decades, TreePeople has been training “citizen foresters” through its quarterly workshops. Like previous TreePeople workshops, this Saturday’s event is free and open to the public, but reservations are required.

Although the lessons can be applied to greening a backyard, TreePeople’s goal is for participants to apply skills beyond their own property lines.


“What we hope is that people come and learn how to green their neighborhoods and go back to their community and make things happen,” said Lisa Cahill, TreePeople’s director of sustainable solutions.

TreePeople estimates it has trained 1,146 citizen foresters. Last weekend, for example, the intersection of 6th and Mateo streets in downtown Los Angeles was planted with 27 trees thanks to citizen forester Gabrielle Newmark.

The May 4 workshops will be taught by TreePeople staff including arborist Linda Eremita, who will lead a tour of demonstration gardens to show which native plants work best when replacing lawn.

In the rainwater harvesting workshop, participants will learn how to install a rain barrel and plant a rain garden, which are not only more sustainable but also can be less costly to maintain. Cahill said the owner of a typical residential property (a 2,000-square-foot house on a 5,000-square-foot lot) could reduce consumption by as much as 100,000 gallons of water in an average-rainfall year by following recommendations. “It’s really great for people to know what they can learn in a weekend,” Cahill said. “They’re like, 100,000 gallons? Just me?”

Cahill said the workshops also create a sense of community, which can be tough to find in a place like Los Angeles. “When you see that a lot of people are doing this all over the city and they’re from all parts of L.A., it starts to feel really powerful and not so lonely,” she said.

The workshops take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at TreePeople headquarters, 12601 Mulholland Drive, Beverly Hills. To RSVP (required) or get more details:

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