On Oct. 19, KYCC—a member of the Arbor Day Foundation’s Alliance for Community Trees program—partnered with DoubleTree by Hilton, one of Hilton’s 14 world-class brands, to plant 45 trees to beautify the historic Pico Union neighborhood.

The community event will help increase Pico Union’s tree canopy, which is more than 10 percent lower than the national average. Protective tree canopy will shade pedestrians, improve air quality and decrease the temperature in the neighborhood, among many other benefits trees provide.

The tree planting was made possible with the support of the DoubleTree by Hilton and is part of NeighborWoods® Month, which supports local tree planting organizations and their efforts to improve neighborhoods across the county by planting and caring for trees.

KYCC also joined hands with the Pico Union Project, a multi-faith cultural arts center and house of worship in the neighborhood, who will be responsible with our support for the water and maintenance of the trees for at least three years.

‘‘It’s rare to have the opportunity to fill every feasible planting location and also have a group step up and commit to care for them. In Southern California, regular tree care, particularly watering for the first three years after planting, is essential to adding trees to a community,’’ said Rachel Malarich, KYCC Environmental Services Manager. ‘‘The trees planted in Pico Union will have a significant impact on this community, which has to deal with a number of environmental stressors, like pollution from the adjacent 110 Fwy.”

Also at the event providing support was our community partner, Pico Union Housing Corporation.

The tree species include Black Acacia, Eastern Redbud, Chitalpa, Australian Willow, Sweet Shade, Chinese Flame, Crape Myrtle, Brisbane Box and African Sumac. The trees are were selected not only because they are appropriate for the local climate, but also because they are known to be resilient to pest and disease as well as not to lift sidewalks as they grow like the more ubiquitous Ficus.

The Los Angeles Conservation Corps worked two weeks prior to the tree planting event cutting concrete sidewalks, breaking and removing them, and backfilling with soil with their youth crews.

Dianna Vaughan, senior vice president and global head, DoubleTree by Hilton, added, “We are excited to be a part of the beautification and revitalization of Pico Union,’’ said. ‘‘For years, we’ve enjoyed partnering with The Arbor Day Foundation to take part in events and activities that truly make a difference. This year, NeighborWoods® Month is perfectly timed with Hilton’s Global Week of Service, which drives social and environmental change by encouraging Team Members to extend their hospitality beyond our hotels and into the communities.’’

To illustrate the importance of trees in our communities, the Alliance for Community Trees commissioned the 2017 NeighborWoods® Month Survey*, conducted by Wakefield Research. Key findings include:

  • Trees bring benefits to not only community infrastructure but also the people who live there. 

  • 94 percent of Americans believe that having trees in their community makes them happier. 

  • More than 60 percent of people surveyed believe having trees in their community inspires them to be active outdoors. 

  • Nearly half (46 percent) of Americans say that trees in their communities help them relieve stress.
  • NeighborWoods® Month volunteering opportunities across the country are made possible by NASCAR Green, MetLife Foundation, DoubleTree by Hilton, and Procter & Gamble’s Family Care brands: Puffs, Charmin and Bounty.