Arbor Day in South LA

03/12/2016 08:18 pm ET Updated Mar 13, 2017

I don't know whether the County seeded the clouds like they did last week to cause yesterday's downpour but it sure made today's tree planting easier.

This morning I was in a neighborhood I don't get to too often. 77th Street and Hoover in South LA. The occasion was a tree planting and City Plants tree giveaway at Loren Miller Elementary School kicking off the City of LA's Arbor Day celebrations.

City Plants is a public-private partnership between the City of Los Angeles, local non-profit organizations, community groups, residents and businesses. The group's mission is to expand and maintain LA's green canopy, with a particular focus on communities like South LA.

In addition to City Plants, the event featured LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson and other dignitaries and neighborhood residents happy to be out on a beautiful Spring day planting trees and learning about the importance of greening LA to help combat global warming.

As the Mayor reminded us, tree planting and the removal of concrete to make room for the trees helps cool the street and gives the rainwater that does fall in our still droughtstricken region a chance to percolate into the ground rather than run down our sewers and flood channels to the sea.

Like CicLAvia, LA's quarterly miles-long block party, which knocked it out of the park again last week (in the northern San Fernando Valley) by enabling Angelenos from all corners of the region to explore the streets together car-free, tree plantings and events like today's unite us as a city.

Coming on the heels of yesterday's near riot at a Donald Trump hatefest in Chicago, the contrast between today and the loathing sewn by Trump wherever he goes could not have been greater.

After the speeches, I joined Koreatown Youth & Community Center (KYCC) and a group of students from Mount Saint Mary's University planting shade trees along Hoover. Special thanks to KYCC's Ryan Allen for the tutorial on how to plant trees the right way before we got started!

After the tree planting, I came home with one of City Plants' beautiful free apricot seedlings which is already in the ground.

Kudos to City Plants, KYCC, the Bureau of Sanitation and the other partners who put on today's event. With KYCC's goal for the day some sixty new shade trees along Hoover, and other teams doing their own planting along 77th Street and other local streets, both South LA and the City of LA are doing their part to combat global warming and conserve water. All in all, it was a great Arbor Day in South LA.

Yours in transit,
Joel