Today's challenges are bigger than any one organization, sector, or community. Let's work together to meet them.

We hope you and your family are safe and healthy today. Our hearts are with all those impacted by the wildfires, as we grieve together the loss of life and the loss of beloved homes, forests, and lands that have nurtured and sustained our communities.

If you would like to support wildfire recovery efforts, please consider donating to one of the following organizations (thanks to our friends at Green Foothills and POST for these recommendations):

We see it all around us: climate impacts are here, and the problems seem overwhelming. The challenges are too big for a single person, group, organization, or agency. Too big to face alone.

But we are not alone. And the path to resilience is the one that we forge together through compassion, courage, and care.

There was at least one bright spot in the news of the last few weeks: ancient redwoods in Big Basin have survived the fire, and experts affirm that the forests there will recover.

We know big changes are needed in the way we live and build together on this earth. But we also know solutions are possible, especially if we look to nature as our guide.

This past Wednesday, we tuned in to the first session of the Green Streets for Sustainable Communities Symposium (details below). For us, it was like a glimpse of blue sky amidst the haze. So many people and organizations from different sectors coming together to share ideas, build knowledge, break down silos, and envision stronger, greener, more vibrant cities for all.

These are the connections and communities we need to forge the path forward—and to support each other each day along the way.

Take care of yourself today, and take care of your community, too. Together we are resilient, and we'll get through this.

Yours in Community,
The Canopy Team
Partner Events:
Green Streets & Candidate Climate Forum
Green streets for Sustainable Communities:
3-Part Online Symposium

Streets make up 30-45% of impervious surface area in our cities. The way we design, build, and manage these key public assets profoundly shapes our urban environments and how we move and live within them.

This online symposium explores how we can re-imagine our streets to create more sustainable and vibrant communities. It's presented in 3 parts:

  • September 10: Vision and Economics - check the event webpage for a recording next week!
  • September 25: Case Studies
  • October 8: Funding Strategies

Palo Alto City Council Candidate Climate Forum

Tuesday, October 6, 2020
7:00 - 9:00 PM

Local elections have consequences for the planet: transit, land use, fee, utility and waste policy decisions by the Palo Alto City Council impact whether we meet our climate goals in the next decade, and are important issues for local voters in 2020.

The 350SV Palo Alto Climate Team, Canopy, and 15 other co-sponsoring organizations are hosting a virtual City Council candidate forum to hear 9 candidates' perspectives on critical local climate policies. Admission is free and open to the public. Learn more and register here. For questions, email the 350SV Palo Alto Climate Team at
Next Webinar October 15 (new date!)
Save the Trees Please:
Best Practices for the Development Plan Review Process
Thursday, October 15, 10:00-11:30 am

Webinar featuring
  • Dave Dockter, Former Planning Arborist for City of Palo Alto
  • Deanne Ecklund, Consulting Arborist & Horticulturist, HortScience | Bartlett Consulting
  • Alison Hicks, Council Member, City of Mountain View

Faced with the challenges of climate change, rapid urbanization and a global pandemic, how can cities prioritize urban trees and greenspaces in their urban planning when access to nature is now more important than ever for residents’ physical, mental and social well-being?

Learn how collaboration between elected officials, planners, arborists, and landscape architects can “save the trees” and better integrate nature into development projects. Certified Arborists will earn 1.5 ISA CEUs upon completion.
Did you miss Canopy's past webinars? View recordings and resources on our website:

EPACENTER Arts Tree Planting
"The trees' shade and beauty are part of the community now. Those benefits will far outlast this pandemic." - Maya Briones, Community Forestry Coordinator
Planting trees together looks different now, but it still builds community
On August 8th, Canopy staff and 15 of our most experienced volunteers gathered in masks and gloves to plant 24 new trees at the brand new EPACENTER facility in East Palo Alto.

Although we don't usually plant in the summer, we were excited to move forward with this special project and plant during the optimal phase of the construction process.

Our small team worked all morning, following Canopy's newly developed COVID protocols, to plant 18 Vine Maples and 6 London Plane Trees at the new arts building, set to open this fall.

It wasn't the bustling community celebration that we originally envisioned with our partners. But our little cohort bonded over the hard work of planting big 24-inch box trees, the unfamiliar challenge of installing sidewalk grates, and the simple, renewing pleasure of hands in the soil.

"I'm sad that we couldn't invite the public to participate in this," says Maya Briones, Canopy's Community Forestry Coordinator, who led the project. "But the trees themselves will be here for the public for decades. Their shade and beauty are part of the community now, and those benefits will far outlast this pandemic."

Canopy was honored to be part of this project. We look forward to the opening of EPACENTER Arts, their programs, and continued partnership. We're also grateful to CalFire, Mack 5, Overaa Construction, and RMT, without whom this effort would not have been possible.

Planting Season & Volunteering Updates
What will Canopy’s tree planting season look like this year?

The EPACENTER tree planting in August gave us a chance to test out new field safety protocols as we prepare to kick off our regular planting season in October. Elise Willis, Canopy's Tree Programs Director, shared a bit about what volunteers can expect from Canopy this fall:

  • We've instituted robust safety protocols, which we update regularly to ensure they're aligned with the latest public health guidelines.
  • Planting and tree care events will be smaller, with a limited number of volunteers. We'll rely more on our pre-trained planting leader volunteers and partner volunteer groups, especially from the neighborhoods where each event is taking place. We'll also have opportunities for "popcorn plantings," where household units with trained volunteers can check out equipment and help plant 1-2 trees at a time for local residents who sign up.
  • We'll still have some opportunities for the general public to volunteer, especially for tree care workdays. These events will also require advance sign-ups and be limited to smaller groups.
  • We're staying flexible with our schedule based not only on COVID-19, but also on air quality. Our first priority in all our programs is the safety and wellbeing of our volunteers, staff, and community.

Are you interested in Volunteering with Canopy?

The best way to get updates is through our Volunteer Wire newsletter. We'll share more details on fall planting plans later this month and throughout the season.
Turning to Art and Nature during Turbulent Times
Forester-turned-artist Kathryn Beals shares what she learned exploring nearby nature during the pandemic

You can learn a lot spending time in urban nature. Artist Kathryn Beals’ “Things we Found in the Creek” series explores and celebrates these lessons, offering a beautiful example of caring for our urban ecosystems—and allowing them to care for us. Her work reminds us how nature and art can both offer renewal, purpose, and peace in the midst of turbulent times.

Kathryn is generously donating a portion of proceeds from this series to support Canopy’s work growing local urban forests. We are so grateful for her story, her artwork, and her generous partnership!

Learn the story of this unique series, or visit Kathryn's Instagram for more artwork and inspiration.
Tree Care: Watch out for Summer Branch Failure
Last week, our Executive Director, Catherine, stepped outside to find a giant tree limb in her driveway. She was surprised, because no one at home had heard any noise.

It was an example of what arborists call “summer branch failure” or “sudden branch drop syndrome,” which can occur when temperatures fluctuate quickly (e.g. very hot days with much cooler nights). Trees most susceptible include oak, sycamore, and pear trees.

There’s no way to guarantee against the syndrome, but keeping your trees healthy and well-maintained is the best defense. Regular pruning, mulching, and watering will limit the risk to your tree, from branch failure or any other harm.

Equity in the Outdoors
As our cities heat up, equity and climate resilience are intertwined
Intensified wildfire isn’t the only climate impact that Californians have felt directly this summer. Extreme heat is already among the deadliest weather disasters and poses an increasing public health threat as our climate warms.

Like other environmental burdens, extreme heat affects some communities more than others. Researchers studying urban heat note a striking and consistent pattern nationwide: neighborhoods that were redlined in the mid-20th century are the hottest parts of our cities today.

A recent data-rich article in the New York Times, “How Decades of Racist Housing Policy Left Neighborhoods Sweltering,” explores the causes and implications of this systemic inequity. It highlights how disparities that were designed on purpose can (and must) be remedied on purpose, too. As the article quotes:

“We can see that racial equity and climate equity are inherently entwined, and we need to take that into account when we’re building our capacity to prepare.” - Alicia Zatcoff, City of Richmond, Virginia Sustainability Manager

To explore these topics further, check out:
A Fond Farewell to Katie Rummel
In August, we said a very fond farewell to Katie Rummel, Canopy's Communications Manager, as she moved back to southern California where her family lives.

Katie joined Canopy in 2018 as our Administrative Associate. With her love of people and passion for community-building, she soon took on coordinating volunteers; you may recognize her smiling face from neighborhood planting and tree care days.

From there, Katie began supporting the organization's communications work, growing Canopy's social media and keeping our community informed through communications like this newsletter.

Katie added so much to our team, and we will all miss her sparkle and creativity. All our best wishes go with her and her cat Stella as they settle into their new home. We can't wait to see where Katie shines her light next!
A Warm Welcome to Indira Selvakumaraswamy
As we say our goodbyes to Katie, we are grateful and excited to welcome Indira Selvakumaraswamy as our new Community Outreach Manager. You'll be hearing more from Indira in the months to come!

Indira grew up in India and spent much of her early adulthood in the south Indian city of Chennai. There she earned an undergraduate degree in zoology and a graduate degree in business administration. Her professional work experience is in the field of advertising and marketing, where she has worked with nonprofits, social marketing firms, and clients from all sectors to support communications strategy.

As a community volunteer, Indira has worked with parents, youth, educators, and administrators, especially as the PTA president of Herbert Hoover Elementary, where her daughters attended school.

Indira brings a deep love of nature and of connecting with people. "Taking on this role at Canopy, I feel that I will be bridging my passion and work," she shares.

We are thrilled to have her on board, and hope that you get to connect with her soon! Meanwhile, read more from Indira on the Canopy blog.
August Tree Gifts
Theo Pappas
in honor of Mia Monroe

Jesse and Kristin Herzog
in honor of Susan Rosenberg

Barbara Klein
in honor of Tony's birthday

Don and Natalie Handelman
in memory of Betty Meltzer

Susan Finkle
in memory of Heidi Fairfield Berndt

John and Alison King
in memory of Mary King
Tree Gifts create a lasting legacy by planting and caring for new trees and growing a vibrant urban forest for future generations.

A special thank you to everyone who has given the gift of trees.
Share Photos, Spread Gratitude
Show gratitude for your neighborhood trees by sharing your photos with Canopy and telling us what urban nature means to you. You can send your photos to Canopy on Instagram or Facebook. We love hearing from you!
Burlingame, CA - Photo by Tatiana Lyulkin
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Bay Area Green Business
Canopy's mission is to grow the urban forest in Midpeninsula communities for the benefit of all. Our vision is a day when every resident of the Midpeninsula can step outside to walk, play, and thrive under the shade of healthy trees.