Category Archives: Uncategorized

For California’s Tree Lovers

California ReLeaf was founded in 1989 as a program of a large organization. Our executive director, Gail Church, was one of the architects who incorporated it as an independent nonprofit in 2004. Gail has served on its board of directors since holding the offices of secretary, treasurer and president.

The mission of ReLeaf is to empower grassroots efforts and build strategic partnerships that preserve, protect and enhance California’s urban and community forests. California ReLeaf works statewide to promote alliances among community-based groups, individuals, industry, and government agencies, encouraging each to contribute to the livability of our cities and the protection of our environment by planting and caring for trees. California ReLeaf also serves as the State’s volunteer coordinator for urban forestry in partnership with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

California ReLeaf’s core programs and services are:

  • Administering urban forestry Grants
  • Coordinating the California ReLeaf Network, an alliance of urban forestry groups throughout the state
  • Monitoring state and federal legislation for opportunities to influence Public Policy on behalf of urban trees
  • Providing Assistance and information to individuals and organizations managing urban forests in California communities
  • Publishing California Trees, a newsletter that explores current issues in urban forestry
  • Co-hosting the annual California Urban Forest Conference, attracting over 150 professionals to hear about current trends in urban forestry
  • Coordinating California Arbor Week, California’s annual celebration recognizing the tremendous value trees provide to Growing Happy Communities

Be informed, follow related happenings at the state capital, learn or find a California ReLeaf Network group near you at .

TREE MUSKETEERS Joins Vote with Your Mission

If all of us who work and volunteer in the environmental movement voted, wouldn’t we have better policies and funding for the environment?

That’s why TREE MUSKETEERS is proud to sign on to Vote with Your Mission, a new, nonpartisan voter initiative sponsored by the California Association of Nonprofits to get 100% of nonprofit staff and volunteers to vote.

Just think of what could happen if more people voted with the ideals and values that they bring to the nonprofit sector. Just think of what is possible if we are able to galvanize the power of the nonprofit community leading up to the November 2012 General Election.

So, all of us involved with TREE MUSKETEERS – staff, volunteers, and board – let’s do our part and vote on November 6. Make sure you’re registered to vote by the October 22 deadline. You can’t vote if you’re not registered!

Since its launch on May 1, Vote with Your Mission has picked up the support of a diverse array of nonprofits across California. We hope many other California nonprofits will join us in signing on to Vote with Your Mission today. Together, we can ensure that our voices – as citizens as well as participants of nonprofit organizations – are heard on Election Day. For more information and to sign on, visit

Kids Teaching Kids: For Schools and Scouts

The Kids Teaching Kids program at TREE MUSKETEERS provides a great enrichment opportunity educators and Scout leaders in the South Bay of Southern California communities of El Segundo, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach, Torrance, Hawthorne, Lawndale, Lomita, Inglewood, Carson, Lennox and Westchester.
Large and small groups of young people are invited to take advantage of this opportunity to engage trained youth speakers who are environmental leaders for next school year. We are offering presentations to an assembly, classrooms, service clubs, troops or anything else that would be of advantage for kids.
Each speaking engagement will include tree seed planting, gifts of hardcover Marcie the Marvelous Tree books for your library and Youth How-To Kits on leadership and tree planting. For those that form an ongoing Partners for the Planet Club, we will provide Youth Supervisor training and a very special tree for the first planting.
Youth speakers customize presentations for the audiences, but common topics are leadership, global warming and urban forestry. Historical speaking engagements have ranged from White House conferences to Brownie meetings and a recent speaking tour for schools in South Korea.
The Kids Teaching Kids program is made possible by the generosity of the USDA Forest Service through the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Urban and Community Forestry Program and Edison International.
Please call 310/322-0263 or email to express interest or get more information.

LEADers Graduate with Honors

Young people ranging in age from 10-17 who come from El Segundo, Los Angeles, Manhattan Beach and Playa Del Rey took LEAD courses this summer. Graduation was held July 23rd in El Segundo City Hall for students who completed the Youth Manager Certification series, Public Speaking course and those completing winter Tree Planting Supervisor Training.
Tree Musketeers Youth Director, Lina McDermott, served as Toastmaster for the event at which Public Speaking graduates showcased their new skills with speeches on global warming.
In addition to receiving the certificates earned through any or all of the courses, Assemblymember Betsy Butler honored the graduates with Certificates of Recognition for their commitment to youth leadership, community activism and a healthy environment.

Signup For Fall LEAD Courses!

South Bay youth age 10-18 who want to become environmental leaders are invited to sign up for LEADership courses this summer. LEAD courses offer 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 4:00-5:30 pm on Wednesday and Sunday October 3rd – November 4th. It begins with the Personal Skills course teaching 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! People Skills and Organizational Management follow. Each course consists of three classes. Youth can choose to participate in one course or all three to earn a Certified Youth Manager certificate.

The eight-week Public Speaking course meets at 4:00-5:30 PM Thursday and Saturday October 18th – November 10th. Kids who complete this course earn a Toastmasters certificate and the chance to participate in a speech contest at the graduation (date to be scheduled)!

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

Marcie the Marvelous Tree’s 25th Birthday

Most people know that Tree Musketeers was founded by third graders in 1987 when they planted Marcie the Marvelous Tree. The eight-year-olds were so inspired upon learning all the good a single tree could do that they promised each other then and there to never stop planting trees until there were no more environmental problems. Four generations of youth leaders along with two Baby Marcies celebrated the 25th birthday of Marcie the Marvelous Tree on May 8th.

So, what has happened to Marcie in the 25 years since she was set free in the soil and charged with so much environmental and social work? You can get the details on the Marcie the Marvelous Tree page in the Trees section of this website. In a nutshell, she has grown to 60 feet tall, leans a bit from the vandalizing incident chronicled in her autobiography, became a Famous and Historic Tree in the national registry, spawned hundreds of babies that were adopted into good homes through the Historic Tree Nursery, is the subject of a children’s musical and continues to inspire kids everywhere to plant and care for trees.

What about the organization Marcie inspired? Tree Musketeers began as a small tree planting project and promptly mushroomed to a national organization in five years on 100% volunteer power, primarily inkind donations and the tenacity of kids. Now with an increasing international presence, it is still a place where kids are boss with a modest headquarters in El Segundo and a small paid staff, although it remains largely volunteer-driven.

As for the little girl founders, they have of course grown up and gone out into the world to do good things. Most have moved away as tends to happen in our mobile society, many are still involved in one way or another, and a few continue to be hands-on with Tree Musketeers. One of the founders, Tara Church, chairs the board of directors and attended Marcie’s birthday party.

Who are the young people that followed in the founders’ footsteps? Angelica Roque, also pictured with Marcie, accepted the leadership torch on behalf of the second generation. Adam Gerard represented the third generation at the party and is actively readying the next group of young leaders to take over. They come from throughout the South Bay, Los Angeles and as far away as South Gate. At the party were Raquel Gerard, Lina McDermott, Samantha Cano, Talia Gerard, Blake Parker and Julian Poyourow.

Stay tuned to see how things unfold in the coming years!

3×3 Campaign Reaches South Korea

Tree Musketeers youth director, Adam Gerard, had a good excuse for his absence at the local community Arbor Day Celebration and tree planting he co-managed in March.  The 17-year-old was otherwise engaged speaking at schools and giving the keynote address at the Youth Leadership Institute during the 2012 KORCOS (Korean Council of Oversees Schools) International Education Conference.  The event was hosted by Chadwick International Schools at its campus in Songdo, Incheon, South Korea.


In its 16th year, the conference was designed to bring experts together under the theme of “Inspiring Education” for more than 1,000 teachers and students in attendance.  The young Mr. Gerard’s assignment for the trip was to teach both youth and adults about youth empowerment.   The speeches, workshops and meetings focused on leadership and environmental activism.



During workshops, each attendee was tasked with structuring their own nonprofit complete with a mission statement, objectives and a logo.  Students created organizations that would serve the environment and a variety of other worthy causes.  Those present had the chance to reflect on the needs of their communities and to create a plan for themselves and friends to make change.



Perhaps the most meaningful part of this journey was a tree planting on March 10, the very day Tree Musketeers kids and adult supporters were planting trees in El Segundo.  So, you see, Adam did not miss out on Arbor Day.  He and his new friends on another continent joined in!  It was a real life demonstration of something Adam points out frequently, “We can only turn back global warming by working together.”   This was the second Asian tree planted under Tree Musketeers’ Partners for the Planet 3×3 Campaign to get 3 million trees planted by 3 million kids worldwide to fight climate change.   



The high school junior took opportunity to share a guiding principle that began 25 years ago with the third grade founders of Tree Musketeers, “Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t change the world.  If we all work on our own little parts of the planet, then neighborhood by neighborhood, state by state, nation by nation we will change the world.”



Adam Gerard attends Mira Costa High School in Manhattan Beach and has been involved with Tree Musketeers since the age of nine.  He is a Certified Youth Manager, a trained tree planting supervisor, an awarded public speaker with a Toastmasters Certificate, a member of the organizations Youth Management Team and a Youth Director on its board.  As if that were not enough, he is an honors student, serves as President of his school’s Partners for the Planet Club, has interned for members of the State Assembly and Congress, and was appointed by City Council to the Manhattan Beach Green Team.

Get-To-Know Contest

You are invited to get outside and enter the 2012 Get to Know Your Wild Neighbors Contest.

You can join our Partners for the Planet 3×3 Campaign
and the Get to Know contest just by planting a tree.
Register your tree as part of the 3×3 Campaign and then
watch to see what wild neighbors come to visit and
inspire you to create an original work of art. Take a
photograph! Draw a picture! Write a poem, a song or a
story! Produce a video!

Learn about the rules, prizes and everything else you need to know at

A Quarter Century of Arbor Day Celebrations

March 10, 2012 was a beautiful day to celebrate trees!  Leadership teams comprising 31 youth supervisors with adult partners oversaw the planting of 127 trees and care of 500 previously planted Trees to the Sea by 391 volunteers.  Chevron, Northrop Grumman, El Segundo Power, DirecTV, Embassy Suites and other local companies fielded volunteer teams in addition to participation by service clubs, individuals and families.  A fire truck watered the freshly planted trees.

Dignitaries on hand were Mayor Eric Busch, Mayor Pro Tem Bill Fisher, Chamber of Commerce president Mike Rotolo, State Senator Ted Lieu and Assemblymember Betsy Butler along with staff of Congresswoman Janice Hahn and LA City Councilman Bill Rosendahl.  The City of El Segundo’s Proclamation of Arbor Day and commendations from the visiting dignitaries plus L.A. County Supervisor Don Knabe recognized Tree Musketeers’ 25thAnnual Arbor Day Celebration.  Volunteers were treated to T-shirts, gloves, morning granola bars, pizza and beverages from Chevron, cookies donated by Schat’s Bakery, fresh fruit brought by Salad Creations and bottled water supplied by West Basin Municipal Water District.  The day wrapped up with a drawing for prizes donated by local businesses and a tremendous sense of pride among participants.  

Arbor Day had been on the Youth Management Team drawing board long before making it to the launch pad.  Three rounds of youth supervisor and adult partner classes had been conducted and plans drawn up.  An Arbor Day task force of 13 community leaders was seated to focus attention on planting and event logistics, volunteer coordination, outreach, fundraising and hospitality.


Arbor Day 2012 would now be history, as they say, were it not for the ongoing work of the trees planted and tended that day.