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Planting Seeds for a Greener Future

July 20, 1999|CONNIE KOENENN

"People in L.A. still think of us as the group that plants seedlings," says Andy Lipkis, whose TreePeople organization has blossomed since its founding 26 years ago to encourage Los Angeles residents to plant and care for trees. Highlights of TreePeople's work:

* Planted more than 1.5 million trees in the L.A. area.

* Distributes free fruit trees to under-served community groups through its Fruit Tree Program (2,300 trees to 36 organizations last year).

* Reaches 1.3 million students annually through environmental education programs at Coldwater Canyon Park and in classrooms.

* Established a Citizen Forestry training program in 1986 whose graduates (more than 400 to date) organize community plantings.

* Coordinated a "Million Tree Campaign" before the 1984 Olympics to help the city comply with air-quality regulations.

* Created a living monument to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1990 by planting 300 Canary Island pine trees along King Boulevard in its largest one-day planting.

* Worked with the L.A. Unified School District to implement the largest landscaping project in the city's history, removing 20-million square feet of asphalt and planting trees.

* Now designing a retrofit of the Los Angeles landscape through Trans-Agency Resources for Environmental and Economic Sustainability to allow the city to function as an ecosystem and help minimize the threat of flooding, drought and pollution.

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