David ambroz297163_2274648658250_2133299155_nWe asked two of our East Hollywood partners, Alfredo Hernandez and David Ambroz, about the work they’re doing to green the East Hollywood area. They shared their views on the value of trees and why they’re an investment worth making.

IFGU: When and why did the Neighborhood Council and the East Hollywood Business Improvement District get involved in greening?

Alfredo: As a founding member of the East Hollywood Neighborhood Council, I knew that we couldn’t talk about neighborhood improvement without talking about trees. We knew starting a program focused on greening would be vital to our success and to the health and prosperity of our neighborhood.

Our first action was to support the East Hollywood Business Improvement District’s (EHBID) request for support of a tree watering program along the Vermont corridor.  That same year, we had numerous neighborhood tree plantings and also helped fund the new medians along Vermont, which will be coming soon.

David: The commitment that both the BID and the Neighborhood Council have shown to the importance of trees is such a strong signal to the neighborhood and city at large. It demonstrates to everyone in the community—the businesses, the families, the customers—that the future is bright and has so much in store for East Hollywood if we continue to invest in its green spaces.

HBT Tree PlantingIFGU: What do you believe is the single greatest value that trees have to offer East Hollywood?

Alfredo: That’s a funny question—because there is actually no way to only pick just one value that trees provide us. They simultaneously do so much at once. While they’re cleaning our air, they’re also preventing soil erosion, providing fruit, beautifying our sidewalks—and so much more.

In fact, a tree living for 50 years will generate $31,259 worth of oxygen, provide $62,000 worth of air pollution control and control soil erosion and increase soil fertility to the tune of $31,250. That’s a lot of value! Just imagine how much trees that grow to 100 or even 500 years are worth to us and our cities.

David: Trees are vital to helping our businesses and communities thrive. They provide a visual cue to pedestrians, saying “Hey, this is a safe walkable community. You should stop and stay a while.” That encourages potential customers to shop, dine or simply just walk along the strip. The shade trees provide is of course also great for businesses because it encourages potential customers to linger outside stores, rather than just jet for their air conditioned cars.

And trees don’t just speak to pedestrians—they also grab drivers’ attention, encouraging them to slow down and respect the community. Trees are a sign the community cares about itself and is inviting them to come back some time.

IFGU: Any other words or wisdom to share about investing from the ground up?

Alfredo: I would tell people not to be afraid. Of course we want people to plant and maintain trees properly, but even the least pretty tree on the block has so much value to offer. If you’re not sure where to start, just ask one of the many great local groups and arborists we have here, and you’ll quickly learn that growing trees can be cheap, easy and incredibly worthwhile. Trees do take decades to reach their full value, though, so I encourage everyone to get growing now!

David: I’d just add that nothing is more important to the revitalization of the Vermont area than our community’s commitment to its greenscape, especially its trees. We believe in this revitalization vision, and trees will play a big role in making it a reality.

IFGU: Thanks for your time and all of the great work you do, Alfredo and David! We look forward to seeing you out in the community.