Last Thursday, November 14th, CURes and TreePeople led a “tree summit” in the City of Commerce to gather community input on where to plant new trees in their city. This was the first opportunity to utilize the high resolution, high accuracy tree canopy data that was recently produced by CURes and TreePeople. Several members of the CURes team attended this meeting, including CURes Executive Director Eric Strauss, Managing Director Michele Romolini, Gottlieb Environmental Leadership Fellow and Researcher Lisa Fimiani, and Environmental Research Assistant Julia Pradel. Funding for the tree summit was provided by Edison International.
The meeting was centered on educating and engaging the local population on the benefits of planting trees, and guiding them through a process of identifying which of those benefits are the highest priority for them as individuals. TreePeople staff led participants through a discussion on why trees are important to them, invoking memories about various positive experiences people have had with trees. Dr. Romolini presented maps and graphs showing the current tree canopy in Commerce, and described how spatial analysis can be used to turn community input into a map showing the priority areas for tree planting.
TreePeople announced that, alongside the City of Commerce, they would be planting 1,100 trees in Commerce as part of an initiative to plant over 11,000 trees across the I-5 corridor in Southeast LA County. The decisions on where to plant those trees will be directly influenced by the input of participants in the tree summit. Not only will this increase the tree canopy within the City of Commerce, it will also create opportunities for residents to come together and build community.
The meeting leaders emphasized that each resident has a say in this process. It’s a transformation that together, we can all take a part in.