Santa Monica High School students will join students from nine southland middle and high schools to take part in TreeByTree, a five-week social media campaign cosponsored by TreePeople and Edison International on Facebook.
The TreeByTree campaign allowed students from 17 schools to submit weekly photos of their school’s environmental activities, and Facebook voters selected
the 10 school winners, including Samohi, to participate in the project.
During a series of sponsored field trips in March and April, each winning school will be able to bring 50 students to join in TreePeople’s multi-year effort to help restore the fire-damaged Angeles National Forest ecosystem by planting native Jeffrey and Coulter pine seedlings. TreePeople is an environmental non-profit that seeks nature-based solutions to grow a greener city.
TreePeople and Edison International are organizing the all-expenses paid field trips for the students.
TreeByTree was launched to inspire and engage middle and high school students while encouraging families in Southern California Edison’s service area to support the cause by switching to paperless billing. Over the five weeks of the campaign, Edison secured nearly 1,500 customer commitments to give up paper statements, Edison officials said.
“Last year, Edison International gave 19.2 million shareholder dollars to thousands of non-profits in our service territory, including TreePeople,” said Tammy Tumbling, director of philanthropy and community investment for Southern California Edison.
“The Angeles National Forest remains in dire need of human intervention following the devastation of the 2009 Station Fire. Edison International is very pleased to work side-by-side with TreePeople and the winning schools to restore the Angeles.”
The 2009 Station Fire was one of the largest in the county’s history, ravaging more than 160,000 acres.
The Angeles National Forest provides 35 percent of the county’s drinking water and encompasses 72 percent of its open space, according to TreePeople.
In the past two years 22,660 seedlings have been planted by more than 150 TreePeople Angeles restoration supervisors and more than 2,000 volunteers. This year’s goal is 15,000 more trees.
“We were amazed by the enthusiasm of the students who showed off their schools’ environmental initiatives and inspired people to vote for them on Facebook during TreeByTree,” says TreePeople’s Forestry Director Julie Prejean. “These young people are going to make a big impact in helping to heal a heavily damaged area of the Angeles National Forest.”
The students will receive instruction on restoration from staff from TreePeople and Forest Aid: Angeles, as well as Edison employees who trained as volunteer leaders. Working near the Chilao Campground, they will learn the proper way to plant the pine seedlings where they are most needed, and how best to care for them.
Depending on the terrain, each school group will plant anywhere from 500 to 1,000 new trees during their visit.