TreeCircus at LA County Fair
Trees were the stars of the show

After a two year break due to the pandemic – TreeCircus returned to the LA County Fair in 2022!

Yassy Wilkins from the US Forest Service worked with Renee Hernandez from Fairplex to provide a new stage area and experience to fair goers.
“The Stage on the Hill” provided a larger tree exhibit area where climbing was added this year, an "Ask the Arborist" booth and a Fun & Games section.

The trees in the area created a shady respite for fair attendees to enjoy the show and really understand the difference trees make.

Each day there were four 30-minute stage shows followed by 30 minutes of climbing instruction. As an added bonus – the “tree of life” stilt-walker performed 30 minutes prior to the show which added a real magical fun addition to the exhibit. There were coloring activities, urban wood giant jenga and a rope toss all set up to keep people interested. Local ISA certified arborists volunteered to answer questions about trees and plants and Arborist volunteers also assisted in the climbing ring.

Learn more about Tree Circus on their website.
Shade In LA | Rising Heat Inequity In a Sunburnt City
17 artists explore the themes of heat and shade equity using repurposed umbrellas as their canvas at Avenue 50 Studio in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Highland Park.
Advocating for Trees, in Times of Drought
A push to save our trees & our water in times of drought

Summer is upon us, and we are reminded of the serious lesson we learned after the imposed water restrictions in 2015 which resulted in dramatic urban tree death and decline.

Since then, we've worked with two state networks of tree nonprofits, California ReLeaf and the CA Urban Forests Council, to coordinate statewide messaging and extensively advocate for the inclusion of tree preservation in drought communications and policies with the Department of Water Resources.
These simple, informative tree-watering videos teach you how to care for your tree during drought:
It is great to see our state agencies, nonprofits, and community band together to advocate for trees in times of drought. The state's Save Our Water website now has tree messaging on their homepage.

CalReLeaf and CAUFC "married" the idea of saving trees and saving water on their websites as well:



The 2021 LA Tree Summit was also all about trees and water (in anticipation of the impending drought restrictions), and there's a great presentation by Dr. Igor Lacan on tree recovery from drought at the 32 min mark, for those interested.

We also hosted a follow up webinar in November 2021 on this with CalReLeaf in an attempt to get ahead of the messaging:
Spring Partner's Meeting Recap
Thank you to everyone who was able to attend our annual Partners meeting last month - it was a huge success!

For those who weren't able to join the virtual event, the recording is now available online!
Watch the entire meeting above or navigate through each speaker's amazing presentation use the timestamps below:
00:00 Welcome
02:00 Agenda
06:08 Jennifer Eberlien, Deputy Regional Forester, USDA Forest Service
10:10 Rachel Malarich, City Forest Officer, City of Los Angeles
14:32 Heather Noel, Deputy, Angeles National Forest
20:05 Juliann Aukema, Assistant Director, Pacific Southwest Research Station, USDA Forest Service
23:45 David Maddox, Executive Director, The Nature of Cities
01:25:00 Methane emissions from wetlands after wildfire events
01:43:13 Mitigating the impact of wildfires on water quality using green infrastructure
02:00:13 Post-Wildfire Vegetation Response LiDAR Analysis of the Wildland-Urban Interface - A Case Study of the Station Fire
02:14:00 Concurrent Hazards of Wildfire Smoke (PM2.5) and Heat in LA County 2020
02:30:00 Tree Ambassador/ Promotor Forestal Program
Panel Discussion: Communicating During Diverse Situations
02:59:56 Introduction to Deep Listening - Fabian Garcia, Partnership Coordinator, Angeles National Forest
03:14:20 How to Develop Talking Points - Dana Dierkes, Public Affairs Officer, Angeles National Forest
03:26:00 Bilingual Disaster Communication: Challenges and Resources - Joseph E Trujillo, CIWRO, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Severe Storms Laboratory, and National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center
03:41:00 Panel Discussion Questions
Let us introduce you to...

Onja Davidson Raoelison, one of our stellar 2022 LA Urban Center Fellows.

We took some take to talk to Onja about work, life, and her PhD journey. Take a moment to meet Onja through a quick Q&A and learn about her incredible work!

University: University of California, Los Angeles

Research: Effect of wildfire residues on biological functions of stormwater biofilters

How would you describe your research?

As water is scarce in Southern California, wildfires will make the limited surface water sources downstream more polluted because of post-fire runoff. Therefore, it is important to develop natural treatment systems to protect them. My research focuses on mitigating the negative impacts of wildfires on surface water quality using green infrastructure. In particular, I am currently examining the potential of stormwater biofilters to remove wildfire-derived contaminants and the effect of those contaminants on their functions. My research could make a difference to those who may be affected by polluted water in wildfire-prone areas using sustainable solutions.

What does it mean to you to be a part of this program?

Being a Los Angeles Center for Urban Natural Resources Sustainability Fellow means conducting meaningful research which helps to increase the quality of life of the LA area by receiving support and guidance from the LA urban center partnership. My work helps develop solutions for providing safe water to vulnerable communities. 
What is the most notable update from your research since the start of your fellowship?

Compost biofilters are able to remove (more precisely adsorbed) the heavy metals leaching from wildfire residues.


What about your research so far has surprised you?

Postfire runoff has an elevated pH (around 8.5) which can affect the chemical and biological processes in the biofilter. 

Why does LA need this kind of research?

As part of my research, I am also interested in examining the resiliency of California plants native species in stormwater biofilters affected by wildfire residues deposition. No one has done this kind of research in California despite the benefits that these native plant species can provide and the potential of stormwater treatment systems such as biofilters to treat polluted runoff. 

What do you do when you aren’t working? 

Fitness, spending time with family and friends, and watching comedies (especially Friends).


Want to know more? Stay connected with Onja through Linkedin and on Twitter!


Watch the recording of our Spring Partners Meeting for updates on all of our Fellows!
Urban Forest Connections Webinar Series
Did you know that the USDA Forest Service hosts a free monthly webinar series?

Join the conversation every second Wednesday | 10:00 - 11:15 AM PST (1:00 - 2:15 pm ET)

The Forest Service's Urban Forest Connections webinar series brings experts together to discuss the latest science, practice, and policy on urban forestry and the environment. These webinars are open to all.

Past webinar presentations and recordings are available on the website.
LA Urban Center Calendar
Stay connected with everything happening at the LA Urban Center!
We keep our online calendar up-to-date with events and activities, including our monthly webinar series.
We get by with a little help from our friends..
The LA Urban Center operates through a partnership among the USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Region and Research Station and the City of Los Angeles (City Plants and Recreation and Parks). Joining in this collaboration are the many Federal, State, and local government partners as well as academia, industry, private, and non-profit organizations concerned with urban natural resources and socioecological resilience. Meet Our Partners Here.