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Arbor Day 2015 was a success!

On March 7th, 2015 the City of El Segundo and Tree Musketeers held their 28th Annual Arbor Day Celebration! Tall and Small volunteers came out to plant over 60 trees and to care for Trees to the Sea along Imperial highway. The tree planting and care were followed up by lunch provided by Chevron, our Presenting Sponsor, ice cream from Cold Stone and an opportunity drawing for participants that were present.

We also had speeches made by our co-founder Tara Church, State Senator Ben Allen, Assemblymember Autumn Burke, City of El Segundo Councilmember Marie Fellhauer and Wirt Morton, great-great grandson to Arbor Day founder J. Sterling Morton.

Take a look at the great work our volunteers accomplished!

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!

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.

Participate in our monthly challenges via:

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Sign Up for Summer LEAD Courses: You Too May Go to Yale!

To go directly to our LEAD Courses page, and enroll, click here.

TREE MUSKETEERS has a rich tradition of sending its youth leaders out into the world via prestigious universities ranging from USC to NYU, Berkeley and Harvard.  The winning college portfolio begins with LEAD courses.  Adam Gerard, a nine-year veteran at the place where kids are boss, is headed to Yale this fall.

With graduation from Mira Costa High School approaching, responses to Adam’s college applications began arriving.  Adam was accepted at 10 prestigious universities offering very generous scholarships.  After much deliberation, he chose Yale.

Adam likes to begin his talks to help others navigate the college admissions process with who he is not.  “I am not an athlete, student body president nor do I play a musical instrument.”   Subscribers to some of the traditional wisdom about what gives kids a leg up with college admissions might view those as fatal errors.

Next Adam tells you who he is.  “I am a good student with decent SAT scores and a supportive family that values education.  Although important, none of that would have bumped me into the 6% admitted to the top tier universities amid a field of some 30,000 applicants for each institution annually.”

So what is Adam’s secret?  It is TREE MUSKETEERS!  Here’s his story.

2006 – Adam accepts the Media Award for Marcie the Marvelous Tree An Autobiography

As a fourth grader, Adam came with a youth group for a TREE MUSKETEERS tree care project.  The girl managing the event inspired him to want to become a youth leader too.  He called TREE MUSKETEERS the next day to see how to get involved.  It was suggested that he continue volunteering on tree care days since he was just nine years old.  When Adam insisted that he wanted to be a leader, the reply was that he would have to wait to be ten, the beginning age for the leadership programs.  After much discussion and Adam’s demand to get started right away building his college resume with community service, he was allowed to enroll in the LEAD courses at TREE MUSKETEERS.

Adam was pretty small for his age and may have looked out of place in a class of mostly teenagers.  It was, however, otherwise immediately apparent that this was the place for him.

He learned qualities and skills leaders need along with organizational strategy and project management in the Youth Manager series of courses.  Adam found his voice in the Public Speaking course.  In the end, he earned Certified Youth Manager and Toastmasters certificates, won the speech contest at graduation and was the youngest person ever elected to the Youth Management Team.  Adam also trained to become a Youth Tree Planting Supervisor.

He was later elected to the board as a Youth Director where he has served six years alongside adults with equal authority.  This year he is serving as President.  Highlights of Adam’s tenure as part of the leadership team at TREE MUSKETEERS begin with completing the Trees to the Sea project to tree-line Imperial Highway.  Others include:
•    trips to Guaymas, MX to mentor our Sister City kids in tree planting and leadership,
•    the launch of our Partners for the Planet 3×3 Campaign aimed at getting three million trees planted by three million kids worldwide.  We are currently at about 1 million trees in 26 states and 13 countries on six continents.
•    creating a native wildlife habitat below Clutter’s Bluff, to name just a few.

Adam and Mira Costa students at the 2012 Manhattan Beach Parade

Adam has had the opportunity to travel to accept prestigious awards, keynote at national conferences and do a speaking tour of schools in South Korea.  He has met with high-level officials and ended up interning for Congresswoman Jane Harman and Assemblymember Ted Lieu.  His advocacy for TREE MUSKETEERS positioned him to be seated on the Manhattan Beach Mayor’s Green Team.

Adam is now busy mentoring the next generation of young executives to take the helm when he goes off to college in the fall.  You can be part of the next generation of young executives that will pursue our mission to empower young people to be environmental leaders.

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! Learn more and enroll on the LEAD page or call (310)322-0263.

Catherine Magruder awarded Tree Musketeer of the Year!

On June 18, Youth Director Julian Poyourow presented long-time volunteer Catherine Magruder the Tree Musketeer Award at El Segundo’s City Council Meeting. Below is a transcript of Julian’s speech.

2013, 6-18 Julian speaking at City Council
Julian Poyourow presenting the Tree Musketeer Award

“Good evening Mayor Fisher, Councilmembers and members of the community.  I am a Youth Director at Tree Musketeers.  My name is Julian Poyourow.

El Segundo is birthplace of Tree Musketeers which was founded by local youth in 1987 as the world’s first youth environmental organization.  During the intervening years, Tree Musketeers and the City of El Segundo have hosted 26 Arbor Day Celebrations, kept El Segundo as a green oasis, launched recycling programs, educated the public, provided leadership and community service opportunities for local youth, planted some 2,500 trees and engaged citizens in these efforts.

Among 12,005 locals who have contributed to this work during the recent decade, one stands out as the shining example of volunteer spirit.  Catherine Magruder has served the youth leaders at Tree Musketeers since 2002 as member of the Adult Partner Team, Board Member, Advisory Director, speech coach and instructor.

Catherine dedicated untold numbers of hours during the past year to helping Tree Musketeers satisfy the requirements of a Kids Teaching Kids grant by performing outreach, mentoring youth leaders in preparation for and attending speaking engagements for 22 schools and youth groups around the South Bay.  

Tonight we are honoring Catherine Magruder’s service to the organization and the City of El Segundo with a Tree Musketeer of the Year award.

Catherine Magruder talking about Tree Musketeers' programs and achievements
Catherine Magruder talking about Tree Musketeers’ programs and achievements

Thank you Catherine for all you have done and will continue to do to make El Segundo a better place for its trees and young citizens.  This is a surprise to you, but you can take this time to say a few words on the reason you thought brought you to this meeting.”

Following Julian’s speech, Catherine spoke about the LEAD Courses to be run next month and the importance of Tree Musketeers’ work over the years, encouraging everyone – youth and adults – to get involved.

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