Summer Hello’s and Goodbye’s

By Canopy Team on June 9, 2017

From left: Eric Perez, Elsa Avelar-Ruiz, Cynthia Perez, Anamaria Ruiz-Quezada, Liz and Juan Chavez-Trujillo

As summer begins, we say goodbye to 7 wonderful Teen Urban Foresters from the school year. We also welcome a bright new bunch of 8 TUFs for the summer, along with 3 stellar summer interns.

A tree-tastic send-off for Teen Urban Forester team

Last weekend, our 7  Teen Urban Foresters (TUFs) from the spring wrapped up a full year of greening their community, leading volunteers, learning tree science, and exploring urban forestry.

Their last activity for the year was a celebratory hike through Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve in Woodside. After a year of planting and caring for urban trees, the TUFs explored “how trees plant themselves” in natural areas.

The hike was led by Gail Rankin, a Canopy volunteer and Jasper Ridge docent, who shared about the preserve’s history, ecosystems, and ongoing research.

“Being out here makes me feel really happy,” said TUF Juan Chavez-Trujillo, looking across the foothills.

TUFs at Jasper Ridge

Another TUF reflected on a whole season spent working and learning outdoors. “[Spending time outside] has inspired me to reconnect with nature and to become more mindful of the different ways in which nature is beneficial to us and why we should protect it.”

Another shared her favorite part of her job as a TUF: “Working with families in their own homes, planting trees. Bringing a smile to their faces just warms my heart. It makes me see things different.”

Two from the group are graduating this year, and moving on to College. Cynthia Perez will study biology at Scripps College in Los Angeles. Alex Quintanar will attend UC Santa Cruz to commune with the redwoods and banana slugs.

Other school year TUFs may return to work with Canopy again in the fall. In the meantime, we look forward to welcoming and introducing our summer team!


A warm welcome to summer TUFs and interns

Canopy is thrilled to welcome seven Teen Urban Foresters and three talented college students to our team this summer!

Summer TUFs are key contributors to Canopy’s rigorous tree care program. This summer, TUFs will focus on caring for young school trees in the Ravenswood City School District, where Canopy has planted over 1,000 trees since 2011.

They’ll partner with Citizen Pruner volunteers to prune young trees, learning about good tree structure and getting to know different tree species. They’ll also facilitate tree check-ups and general care like water, mulch, irrigation upgrades, and stake removal or replacement. In addition to maintaining hundreds of young community trees, summer TUFs will work on their own special projects, working as individuals or pairs to address a specific need in the community.

As their first hands-on day, this year’s summer TUFs also had an opportunity to plant new trees during a joint planting on the Stevens Creek Trail, hosted by City of Mountain View, Mountain View Trees, Friends of Stevens Creek Trail, and Canopy. Read more here.

Meet our Summer Teen Urban Foresters:

Kelly Cortes is a rising junior at Eastside College Prep. Her goals as a TUF are to attain more work experience and improve her leadership skills. Her vision for the community is to see more trees and greenery. She wants to show her community what Canopy can do to better their environment. Her hobbies include reading and computer science and her favorite tree is the Chinese Elm.

“My vision is to spread awareness to see more green in my town.”

Amil Muwwakkil attends Eastside and is going into her sophomore year. She joined Canopy this summer because she wants to be more aware of what is happening outside. This also allows her to work with people her age who have the same goals and aspirations of giving back to their community. For hobbies, she works out and loves to make people laugh. Her favorite tree is the palm tree because it makes her feel like she is on vacation.  

“I want to see Oakland greener, to encourage a better working environment.”

Akasha Fobbs will be a sophomore at Eastside College Preparatory. For fun she enjoys hanging with friends, cooking, and drawing. This summer she joined Canopy as a TUF because she wants to get to know her community better. She also is looking forward to having a fun summer while bettering the environment around her. As a TUF, Akasha wants to learn more about what she can do to protect her community and meet new people. After high school, Akasha wishes to study marketing.

“My vision for my community is to create a cleaner and safer environment so kids and adults can enjoy the outdoors.”

Harold Kirkendoll, will become a senior at Eastside College Prep. Harold enjoys spending time with friends and family by playing sports and talking with them. Harold became a Teen Urban Forester to learn more about trees and what they require to grow. Harold is interested in studying sports medicine and body movement in the future. His hobbies consist of reading political and sports articles.  

“Having a clean and efficient community where people can do community service for fun.”

Jaime Ramirez is a rising junior at Eastside College Prep and is a part of the school’s soccer team. Apart from soccer, he is interested in mathematics and engineering. He became a Teen Urban Forester in hopes of the East Palo Alto community becoming more environmentally friendly and nicer to look at. He enjoys helping the environment and likes the Oak tree because it provides lots of shade and is common in the Bay Area.  

“I want to see my environment more clean so that more people will enjoy the outdoors.”

Luz Abarca is a senior at Woodside High School. She enjoys participating with groups like Acterra and Grass Roots because she likes protecting the environment and giving back. She wants to learn more about tree care and make an environmental impact as a TUF. Her vision for her community is for an increased awareness on the importance of protecting the planet. For fun, Luz likes to workout, go on hikes, and do make-up. She is involved in Youth & Government which consists of debates and creating bills. After high school, she plans to study environmental science or environmental protection and management.  

“One that plants trees, loves others besides himself.”

Alexander Aldama is a junior at Woodside High School. He is sixteen years old, and joined Canopy’s TUF program because he would love to get job experience and loves nature. He also likes to learn how trees can help the environment and how to help them grow. He rows in crew and likes to work out and spend time with his friends and dog. He also loves to do community service to help improve his community. That is also why he would like to study biology or environmental science in college.  

“I want the next generation in community to have a cleaner and greener environment.”

Meet our Young Tree Care Survey and Urban Forestry Interns

Summer interns are also integral to Canopy’s ongoing tree care and youth engagement programs. This year, we’re fortunate to have three talented college students contributing in key ways:


Laura Duffy

Laura Duffy, Young Tree Care Survey Intern, comes to us from Boston College where she just completed her sophomore year studying Environmental Studies and Political Science. Laura grew up in San Jose, and loves hiking in the Bay Area’s open spaces.

During her time at Canopy, Laura is coordinating the 2017 Young Tree Care Survey, gathering key data on the health of Palo Alto’s urban forest. Laura has signed up for a busy summer; in addition her position at Canopy, Laura is working as a Local Government Affairs Intern at the Santa Clara Water District. Welcome, Laura!

Lourdes Sanchez

Lourdes Sanchez, Urban Forestry Intern, just completed her sophomore year at UC Merced where she studies Earth Systems Science and Public Health. Her task this summer is to oversee and mentor our team of Teen Urban Foresters, leading tree care days and guiding TUFs as they explore individual projects and interests during their time with Canopy.

As a native of East Palo Alto, Lourdes says she’s excited to work with local youth to preserve and expand the urban forest, and to help TUFs understand the impact that trees make in their community. Welcome, Lourdes!

Simon Willig

Simon Willig, Urban Forestry Intern, just completed his sophomore year at Middlebury College in Vermont (also the alma mater of Canopy’s Community Forestry Coordinator, Uriel Hernandez), where he’s majoring in Environmental Studies and Political Science. This summer, he’ll be taking on special tree care projects like installing and updating irrigation and helping Canopy jumpstart a new tree mapping project currently in the works.

Growing up in Redwood City, Simon spent his youth maintaining vegetable beds and learning all about plants from his father, a landscape architect. He has studied plants in and out of the classroom, and looks forward to turning his passion and fascination with plants towards urban trees this summer. Welcome, Simon!


Sign up for local tree news, events, volunteer opportunities, and more.

Sign Up

Recent Posts