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The Greening of L.A.

April 15, 1993|ANNE KLARNER

Tree planting is the kind of activity that grows on you.

Just ask Scott Wilson, a founding member of North East Trees, who has been planting since he was a kid in Oregon. And Saturday he will be out doing it again with some young sycamores at Loreto Street Elementary School in the Mt. Washington area.

Wilson, 70, a retired high school teacher, started the grass-roots organization in January, 1990, when members of TreePeople, another environmental group, spoke at Occidental College and Wilson wondered why there weren't any trees on Fiji Hill, an undeveloped area east of the Occidental campus in Eagle Rock.

"It grew from one thing to another," he said.

At first, he said, "I was just going to do it myself," but thanks to a little publicity from local papers, the former teacher, his tax consultant and others got together and ended up planting 700 trees that year.

Since then, the group has obtained grants to help maintain and establish the Fiji Hill project and have also worked with schools, giving talks and, of course, planting trees.

Speaking of the Loreto project, Wilson said, "The emphasis is that this is a community activity."

Students, teachers and parents are expected to turn out. But there's always room for more volunteers to help plant 12 sycamore trees around the school and work in the drought-tolerant garden.

"The important part is to get rid of the asphalt," Wilson said. "We're un-paving L.A., if you will, bits and pieces of it."

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is funding Saturday's planting.

The sycamores will help shade the school in the summer and will lose their leaves in the winter, allowing the sun to warm the buildings, thus cutting down on costs to heat and cool the school by as much as 10%, Wilson said.

Planting starts at 9 a.m.

"We go until exhaustion, which is about 1 o'clock," Wilson said. "We suggest that people bring lunches."

Loreto Elementary is at 3408 Arroyo Seco Ave.

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