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Make a Difference Day 2014 was a success!

On October 25th, 2014  Tree Musketeers organized their 2nd Annual Make a Difference Day event. Tall and Small volunteers came out to care for our Trees to the Sea along Imperial Highway by participating in a clean-up competition. We collected 99 bags of trash and invasive plants.

Take a look at the great work by our volunteers!

It’s LEAD Time Again El Segundo!

Not only is LEAD a great addition to any college portfolio and future resume but it is a great opportunity to get to know other youth who are highly involved in their community. Thinking about registering? Read about the positive impacts these amazing courses have had on some of our past graduates in our Q & A.

 

Adam
Adam Gerard now attends Yale University.

Tree Musketeers: Tell us a bit about yourself and how you originally became involved with Tree Musketeers?

Adam Gerard: I originally became involved with Tree Musketeers after a field trip with my temple youth group to a simple tree care event. I enjoyed the event so much and was so fascinated with the idea of youth leadership that I called the offices that night to inquire how I could get more involved. Despite being slightly too young for the position (9 years old, off by a year). I was persistent and in the end, enrolled in the LEAD classes for 2004. Four years later I was elected as the President of the organization, and after another 5 years I had begun my time at Yale University in no small part due to my involvement in Tree Musketeers.

TM: What impact did being a Youth Manager and taking part in LEADership courses have on your life?

AG: Being a Youth Manager was hugely impactful on my life. It opened the door to an incredible amount of leadership opportunities not only at Tree Musketeers but around the entire community and South Bay. Eventually, it led to me traveling internationally to take part in leadership opportunities in other countries. However, at an even more basic level, The LEAD courses gave me the opportunity to learn important skills that have proven incredibly valuable for every job I have held and every interview I have had. The LEAD courses prove that in today’s world it is never too early to begin learning important professional and leadership skills in addition to public speaking. These new skills gave me an advantage in school, an advantage in the marketplace, and an advantage in the college admission process as well.

TM: You were not only a Youth Manager but you sat on the Board of Directors for Tree Musketeers.  Tell us what it was like to make decisions on behalf of the organization alongside accomplished business people, veterans and activists?

AG: It was certainly a humbling experience, but also an empowering one. To me, it demonstrated that no matter what age one was, they are able to bring ideas and contributions to the table regardless of the complexity of the topic at hand. My problem solving skills were doubtlessly refined and I had the reinforcement and support of many of these accomplished individuals behind me the entire time as well. The connections and friendships I made on the board were incredibly valuable to me as well, and still are.

TM: Now as a student at Yale, how did taking part in this organization and LEAD courses shape your interests and approach to college and adult life?

AG: My experiences at Tree Musketeers have been, and remain, a guiding force in many of the ways I think and act. In fact, even among some of the most impressive students in the country, what I have learned from the LEAD courses- from everyday actions to business management is still a huge advantage for me that continues to open doors. I also feel as though I am more open-minded now, having learned from my colleagues at Tree musketeers who were always so willing to listen to and share my ideas regardless of my age or lack of experience.


TM: Tell us a bit about yourself and how you originally became involved with Tree Musketeers?

Blake Parker is a Freshman at University of Alabama
Blake Parker is a Freshman at University of Alabama

Blake Parker: I am from El Segundo, California, the hometown of Tree Musketeers. I am now a student at the University of Alabama, and although I am now across the country, I still do all I can to help Tree Musketeers. I originally got involved when my mom saw an ad for the Tree Musketeers LEAD classes. Although I was against going at first, I am extremely happy that I was able to take part in the courses and continue to be a part of the organization after they were over.

TM: What impact did being a Youth Manager and taking part in LEADership courses have on your life?

BP: Taking the LEADership courses allowed me to learn the skills needed to be a Youth Manager. There are very few other opportunities that allow youth to run an entire nonprofit organization, and the skills I have learned from this experience have been valuable to me. As I enter the working world, I already have knowledge and experience that puts me above other candidates competing for the same jobs.

TM: You were not only a Youth Manager but you sat on the Board of Directors for Tree Musketeers.  Tell us what it was like to make decisions on behalf of the organization alongside accomplished business people, veterans and activists

BP: Being on the Board of Directors was a once in a lifetime experience. I had a lot of responsibility, and every decision that I was a part of was crucial to the well being of the entire organization. I was able to create relationships with important people who I still remain in contact with.

TM: Now as a college Freshman, how did taking part in this organization and LEAD courses shape your interests and approach to college and adult life?

BP: Before being a part of Tree Musketeers, I never really knew what was wrong with the environment. I had heard about it, but I never really paid any attention. Tree Musketeers has really opened my eyes to the problems we face today. Because of Tree Musketeers, I will continue to work every day to make a difference in our environment.

Water Campaign – Pets do their Part

For many areas in California, 2013 closed as the driest year on record. The state of California has been in a state of emergency concerning water usage since January of 2014. The governor has called on all Californians to reduce their water usage by 20%.

These facts are terrifying, but not immobilizing. Tree Musketeers is launching a campaign to decrease water usage in daily life. Find out about the general campaign on the campaign page. We are approaching water conservation in a series of topics. For the second topic, we are focusing on caring for your pet in a water-friendly way.

  • Use a water bowl with a filter so you don’t have to change out water as often.
  • Use old water from your pet’s water bowl to water plants.
  • Use dry dog shampoo that doesn’t require water for use.
  • Use an on/off switch on your hose when giving your pet a bath.
  • Wash your pet in an area of your lawn that needs water.
  • When cleaning a fish tank, use the old water to water plants.
  • Never put pet waste in the storm drain.
  • Use artificial turf for your pet’s play area.
  • Buy a pet that doesn’t require a lot of water, such as a tortoise or lizard.
  • Use natural methods to clean your fish tank like snails and algae-eating fish, which will require less tank cleanings.
  • Use water from heating up your shower to give to your pet.
  • Feed your pet wet food instead of dry food to decrease their thirst.

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Welcome on Board and Fond Farewells

The DoubleTree Hotel hosted Tree Musketeers’ annual board retreat on July 26. The full day meeting involved some recap of the recent past, planning for the future, evaluation, team building and elections.

Fond farewells were bid to youth directors Julian Poyourow and Blake Parker and youth manager Kurt Frerichs who are headed off to college. Julian and Blake, however, have accepted Advisory Director appointments along with community leader Mike Rotolo of TG Construction. George Funk and David Dickey, both longtime supporters of Tree Musketeers, were elected as new directors of the board. Officers for the upcoming year are Samantha Cano as president, Tara Church as chair, Scott Houston as Secretary and Chad Hummel as Treasurer.

With renewed spirit for pursuing our vision of a healthy Earth and vital youth leadership, we have some new and improved programs to rollout for you. Standby and may the forest be with you!

You’re invited! LEAD Graduation: August 11th

We are reaching the end of a busy educational summer. Our Youth Manager Series just came to an end and the Public Speaking Class runs until the end of next week. Our students will receive their certificate during an official ceremony at El Segundo’s City Council Chamber on Monday 11th starting at 7 pm.

Catherine Magruder, who teaches the Public Speaking Class will host the party, which will also include a speaking contest. We hope you will attend the ceremony to encourage our young speakers and congratulate all graduates.

Summer2013FlyerLEAD

Water Campaign – Conserve in the Kitchen

For many areas in California, 2013 closed as the driest year on record. The state of California has been in a state of emergency concerning water usage since January of 2014. the governor has called on all Californians to reduce their water usage by 20%.

These facts are terrifying, but not immobilizing. Tree Musketeers is launching a campaign to decrease water usage in daily life. Find out about the general campaign on the campaign page. We are approaching water conservation in a series of topics. For the first topic, we are focusing on conservation in the kitchen. Below are some tips you can use to decrease the water you use while in the kitchen:

  • Turn the faucet off when it is not absolutely necessary.
  • Wash produce in a washbowl instead of under running water.
  • Use the washbowl water after finished to water houseplants.
  • Cooking water can also be used to water plants if you let it cool first.
  • Very hot cooking water can be used to kill weeds.
  • For pans and burnt on food, soak the pan in water and scrub later.
  • Install a low flow faucet on your sink.
  • Don’t use water to defrost frozen foods, leave them in the fridge overnight.
  • Use an eco friendly dishwasher and only run it when its full.
  • Compost your food waste rather than pushing it down the sink.
  • Install an outdoor sink and route drain to garden. Use when washing things such as vegetables and other non-meat items.
  • Use a minimum of cooking water when making noodles or potatoes.

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Check out the new Learn section of our website!

If you are starting a project, looking for homework help or just want to know more, the Learn pages are for you!

The clarion call for youth to stand up and be counted as warriors, with shovels as their weapons, in the fight against global warming has been issued over the past 25 years by Tree Musketeers.  The Kids Teaching Kids project aimed to raise the pitch and the volume of that call to arms by providing more educational tools, inspiration and action steps.

A major element of the project was full development of the Learn section of our new website that launched last year.

brochure iconLook for this icon (the blue book to the right) throughout the site to see new brochures on all of the most popular topics ranging from tree planting to composting, the 3×3 Campaign, speakers bureau and how to get involved.

Major funding provided by the USDA Forest Service through the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Urban and Community Forestry Program

Sign Up for Summer LEAD Courses

South Bay youth age 10-16 who want to become environmental leaders are invited to sign up for LEADership courses this summer. LEAD offers the opportunity for young people to acquire marketable skills that will serve them well as environmental leaders, as students, and in life.

The summer Youth Manager Certification series runs from 11:00am – 12:30pm on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday beginning July 1. Youth can choose to participate in one course or all three to earn a Certified Youth Manager certificate.

July 1-3 Personal Skills – teaches the art of personal presentation that is essential to effective leadership. Youth in the Personal Skills course will learn about body language, dressing for success, table manners and more!
July 8-10 People Skills – participants learn how to comfortably meet new people, telephone manners, email etiquette, group dynamics, team building, avoiding and getting out of conflict, and leadership.
July 15-17 Organizational Management – those in the classes will explore the basics of organizational development, project management and study the Tree Musketeers model of a place where kids are boss. Each course consists of three classes.

The eight-week Public Speaking course meets at 2:30-4:30pm on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday August 5-16.  Kids who complete this course earn a Toastmasters certificate and the chance to participate in a speech contest at the graduation August 19 at 7:00pm!

Interested in taking one or all of the courses?  There’s still room!  Click HERE for the enrollment form and find more details on the LEAD page or call (310)322-0263.

Arbor Day in Review

March 9, 2013 – El Segundo, CA — A jogger accustomed to a solitary trip down the industrial portion of W. Grand Ave. to the beach stopped to ask, “What’s going on here?” He looked around at the nearly 300 volunteers, tools and materials neatly positioned by trees along the .3 mile street, sponsor banners on the fence and young people in yellow hats clearly in charge. Upon learning that this was Arbor Day and he had wandered into El Segundo’s 26th Annual Celebration, the stranger asked shyly if he could help too.

That was the spirit driving this spectacular volunteer effort to care for the Millennium Trees that line the western entrance of El Segundo, a street that is technically in the City of Los Angeles. “We have been working on this for months, and in a couple of hours it was over,” remarked Samantha Cano who was one of the 18 youth supervisors who made that possible. In truth, this was a continuation of an effort begun by the TREE MUSKETEERS pioneers in 1988. Youth Manager Hannah Poyourow explained.

Among the original goals of third-graders who founded Tree Musketeers in 1987 was to green up all the entrances to El Segundo, including this one. They set to writing letters and sitting through long public meetings. While avoiding the young Musketeers, the City of Los Angeles planted trees on this street twice, but they all died both times.

One of Tree Musketeers’ founders, Tara Church, was asked to represent America’s youth on President Clinton’s White House Millennium Council in 1999. The prestigious group planned Millennium Green celebrations around the country. Tara returned home intent upon having a South Bay millennium celebration right here on this street. Finally a deal was struck for DWP to provide water to the 104 Melaleuca trees that were planted here on January 29, 2000. That is why this area is known as Millennium Row.

Life for the trees in this inhospitable area has not been easy. Most trees only require intensive care for the first three years, but the Millennium Trees still need significant attention due to the ocean salt and industrial pollution. These trees have faced other affronts as well. Berry vines the community planted in 2001 to further green the street by covering the rusty fences were removed by Scattergood gardeners who then beheaded the Millennium Trees three years later.

When elected to City Council in 2004, Eric Busch’s first adventure in diplomacy was to lead a painstaking process of getting a written agreement between Tree Musketeers and DWP regarding Millennium Row. That was instrumental to forging the congenial relationship that exists today.

Busch has served among community leaders since 2004 on the Arbor Day task force. This year that group also included Lily Craig of Chevron, Mike Rotolo of TG Construction, El Segundo City Councilmembers Bill Fisher & Marie Fellhauer, Tree Musketeers board member Scott Houston, youth leaders Julian Poyourow & Blake Parker, Recreation & Parks staff Art Murphy & Allison Fiorini, and Tree Musketeers staff.

When asked why he keeps coming back after 10 years of Arbor Days, Fisher replies this way. “There is a great tradition and wonderful legacy of Tree Musketeers in El Segundo, and we are lucky to have such an organization in our city. They empower kids in ways that I haven’t seen before and accomplish big things year after year. It’s quite inspiring, and that’s the reason I support them. Plus we get trees planted and cared for on a scale that most organizations would envy if they understood what is done year after year after year. It’s quite inspiring, and that’s the reason I support them.”

In addition to its own generous contribution to Arbor Day as presenting sponsor, Chevron matched tree care donations of any size while providing morning snacks, T-shirts and lunch. Contributions are still being accepted and are not for just a day, but an entire year of nurturing over 1,800 trees that depend on Tree Musketeers and its volunteers. Contributors can be proud of how effectively donations are used. Because of this generous community, Tree Musketeers can boast of a 97% tree survival rate. This becomes even more impressive when you learn that 90% is the industry standard.

Arbor Day 2013 was topped off with a drawing for great prizes ranging from $500 to $1,500. While thanking the spirited troops for their participation, youth director Julian Poyourow reminded, “Mark your calendars for March 8, 2014 when we will once again celebrate Arbor Day!”

Arbor Day Event Sponsors
Meet the Arbor Day Sponsors.

3×3 Campaign Kids in Uganda

Some 200 youth supported by 128 adults planted 14,225 3×3 Campaign trees near Kampala in the Northern Region of Uganda.  The Family Caregivers Assn. also distributes fruit tree seedling to students in Apedi primary school and has established a tree nursery.

Family Caregivers Association is a community-based organization formed to help vulnerable older persons and orphaned children to live better lives in the Lira District of Northern Uganda.  This is the poorest region in the country due to decades of conflict during which 500,000 people have died, 1.6 million people were displaced and tens of thousands of people captured, including an estimated 25,000 children abducted and forced to become child soldiers.  Even so, John Alfred Ejura, the group’s Chairman, insists that deforestation is the most critical problem faced in North and Eastern part of Uganda.

If planting trees to fight global warming and the other environmental issues inherent to deforestation is tops on the minds of these people, please reexamine whatever excuse you’ve been using for not taking action yourself.