On September 25, KYCC Environmental Services joined the Los Angeles Department of Public Works, Council District 14, City Plants, and more, to celebrate Latino Heritage Month with a Community Tree Planting and Adoption event in Boyle Heights. The day focused on bringing together climate action and community by working with the city’s Tree Ambassadors and volunteers to plant 47 street trees along Judson Street and the surrounding neighborhood blocks. 


The event included a hands-on training for Tree Ambassadors from across the city, led by Cristina Basurto, KYCC’s Senior Community Engagement Coordinator, and Chris Imhoff, Tree People’s Director of Program Development. The Tree Ambassador program is a grassroots, bilingual community organizing program dedicated to amplifying community voices and planting trees in historically disinvested communities including Boyle Heights, Pico Union, Westlake, and South Los Angeles, among other neighborhoods. The Tree Ambassadors are trained to help provide on-the-ground, community-centered support for residents in low-canopy and urban heat vulnerable regions, by bringing together residents to organize for a greener, more equitable future. 


KYCC currently hosts seven Tree Ambassadors, who are part of the 10 month program where they will be given the tools, knowledge, and resources to build connections with and amplify voices in the community to advocate for planting more trees in these under-resourced areas. The neighborhoods being served through the Tree Ambassador program are historically low tree canopy communities, which can result in higher rates of extreme-heat related illnesses and deaths. Lack of access to green space such as parks and gardens, also contributes to health risks and threatens the strength and vitality of these neighborhoods. 


“It gives us great pride to do this work and be able to plant these trees, to give this neighborhood the benefits that we know that trees have. When you drive all over other cities, you see those benefits and you see how much shade it provides, and you see how much vibrancy it gives, that’s what we want to do for this community,” said Teresa Villegas from the Los Angeles City Board of Public Works. 

Learn more about the work of KYCC’s Environmental Services here and ways that you can get involved to help make our neighborhoods a greener place for all.