A Greener Community for a Cooler Lynwood

Edison summer interns and employees dig in to help care for recently planted shade trees.
Aug 17, 2022 12:00 PM ET

By Caitlin Bowen & Shulie Tornel

Waking up early on a recent Saturday morning was no problem for TreePeople and Edison International volunteers who traveled to a Lynwood neighborhood to help care for 64 recently planted shade trees. TreePeople is an environmental advocacy group that plants and maintains trees to reduce temperatures, capture rainfall and mitigate the impacts of climate change in communities lacking urban forestry.

The day started with guidance on properly tending the growing trees lining the neighborhood streets. Volunteers were provided tools to remove weeds, mulch for moisture conservation and water to hydrate each 15-gallon tree.

"Tree care operations are incredibly important. It ensures that the trees we planted have the highest chance of survival," said Jonathan Manikan, TreePeople Community Forestry coordinator. "It's proven that trees bring several benefits to communities, such as canopies, cooling care for communities, carbon sequestering and oxygen creation. One adult tree can produce enough oxygen for 10 people while removing greenhouse gases and helping with climate resiliency."

Through its Urban Forestry program, TreePeople focuses on several underserved communities in Southern California, including Watts, Bell, Commerce, Cudahy, Huntington Park, Lynwood, San Fernando, Santa Fe Springs and Riverside.

"TreePeople's efforts align with SCE's strategy — we are both focused on building and supporting healthy and climate-resilient communities," said Jered Lindsay, SCE senior attorney and TreePeople board member. "Tree cover helps reduce the urban heat island effect and can help provide relief to some of the most climate-vulnerable and impacted communities in our service area. It lowers temperatures, reduces energy costs and improves air quality. Tree cover can make a huge difference."

The volunteer event included employees of Edison International and its subsidiary, Southern California Edison, which have supported TreePeople since 2000. This year, Edison provided a $120,000 grant that will benefit more than 730,000 people in the organization's target areas.

It was part of a larger initiative at Edison called "Season of Service," a philanthropy program that awards the partnering organization an additional $5,000 during a service event.

A specific team or department coordinates each Season of Service event within the company. This Season of Service recruited Edison International interns, many of whom supported this effort."It was really fun to come out and have an opportunity to chat with people outside of my department and outside of engineering in general while doing something positive for the community," said Sharon Johannes, an SCE intern in Distribution Engineering.

"We know from a recruiting perspective that the folks we attract to our organization are particularly interested in giving back to their communities," said Tricia Joyner, SCE principal manager of Talent Acquisition. "Being a part of community outreach and volunteerism is really important to our organization and the people within it. We know the interns are just as passionate about giving back as we are."

TreePeople's efforts were supported by several Lynwood residents, who themselves have been helping to maintain the trees in their neighborhood. Many thanked the volunteers for their help, while others donated water bottles.

"Thank you for everything! We love these trees. We appreciate it," shouted one resident as she slowly drove by the busy volunteers.

To learn more about Edison International and SCE's commitment to climate adaptation, visit Edison.com/Clean-Energy. To learn more about our employee giving and volunteer efforts, visit Edison.com/Community.