AmeriCorps VISTA Carlos Naranjo has had a busy first two months of national service. Carlos is serving with North East Trees, a nonprofit in Los Angeles, CA that is working with the local communities to bring nature back to their urban environment. Carlos plays a large role for North East Trees in that he is responsible for reaching out to new organizations to partner with, engaging the community and researching grant opportunities to continue the nonprofit’s work.
Carlos and the North East Trees have recently completed notable community volunteer events in which they partnered with the Van Nuys Recreation Center, University of Southern California volunteers, Koreatown Youth, TreePeople, and Los Angeles Conservation Corps to plant 200 shade trees. This event also allowed Carlos to table and engage with the community members that were not a part of his tree planting group. Carlos partnered with City Plants and FreeTrees LA to give away 100 free trees in conjunction with a local soccer game that was taking place.
Carlos had the opportunity during both events to explain the importance of having trees in urban settings, not only do trees stimulate the senses but they also hold a monetary importance. In sun beaten Los Angeles, shade trees offer a break from the heat to the people walking by and the utility companies producing electricity to power air conditioning units.
Carlos is currently analyzing data to find areas where urban tree canopy is low to non-existent and working with local authorities to put more green space in communities. There are grants that are directed towards disadvantaged communities through California’s Green House Gas Mitigation. These projects are funded through these types of grants.