Penn Serves LA and TreePeople at the Audubon Center

By Michelle Wattana, C’09

What a day for the Penn Serves crew! Over 25 Penn alumni, family, and friends arrived at the Audubon Center at Debs Park, ready to assist TreePeople for a day of restoration and fun! For the past 40 years, TreePeople has been gathering the people of Los Angeles to plant and care for trees, harvest rain, and renew depleted landscapes. We were grateful to join them at the Audubon Center, an environmental community hub located within the 282-acre Ernest R. Debs Regional Park in the heart of Los Angeles.

Penn Serves LA helps Treepeople in Los Angeles volunteering Penn Alumni

Some of the Penn Serves LA group ready to help TreePeople

Penn Serves LA helps with TreePeople Los Angeles volunteering Penn Alumni

More of the Penn Serves LA gang

With plenty of sunshine abound, we began by keeping the center courtyard of the park in good order, adding water and soil to surrounding plants, and raking old twigs and leaves off the ground. By the time we were finished, the courtyard looked spick and span, if we do say so ourselves!

Courtyard at Audobon Center Los Angeles cleaned up by Penn Serves LA penn alumni volunteers

A clean job well done by the volunteers

With our first task complete, the group took a short, but scenic hike to the restoration lands. With gardening gloves and tools in hand, we began clearing the land, making way for native plants such as the California buckwheat to grow and thrive. We worked up quite a sweat under the blazing sun, but had tons of fun chatting the morning away while pulling out a lot of old vegetation.

Penn Serves LA Tree People Los Angeles Penn Alumni volunteering

On the hike up to the restoration lands

Before we knew it, the small piles of weeds and dried up plants we had begun turned into large mounds before our eyes. All volunteers, big and small, had a terrific time doing their part in the great outdoors. We certainly enjoyed ourselves, getting to know one another while helping the surrounding community and environment!

TreePeople will welcome volunteers in the coming months to plant and nurture small trees.  This is essential to the work of TreePeople, as the planting of the trees will serve to help cool our city, slow the run off of rainwater, provide a habitat for animals, food for people and ultimately, make our air more breathable.

So please join TreePeople and stay tuned for more events from the Penn Serves LA crew! Email us to subscribe to our Penn Serves email list where are future service events are announced first.

About Penn Serves LA

Penn Serves LA logo volunteering with Penn Alumni in Los Angeles

Penn Serves LA impacts the Los Angeles community by engaging University of Pennsylvania alumni, parents and families in meaningful community service activities.

Since our founding in 2012, we have done everything from serving meals to the homeless to restoring the environment to fixing homes. Six times annually, we find another great opportunity to learn about interesting nonprofits, lend a hand and enjoy fun experience with fellow alumni.

Join Us

We invite the Penn community in Los Angeles (alumni, parents and kids) to join us at a future event, to help spread the word and to help us plan future activities. Join us, meet new Penn people, demonstrate what service means to your kids and friends, and help fellow Quakers make a little bit of difference in our complex city!

If you have an established nonprofit that you would like us to consider for future events or announcements, please let us know. We are looking for new nonprofits to serve in meaningful ways.

Our next event – feeding the homeless with the Fred Jordan Missions on Thanksgiving Day is already sold-out! Join the wait-list to see if any spaces open up for volunteering.

Contact Us

Questions? Want to join our email list? Reach us at

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram and Twitter!

The Penn Serves LA Team

Christine Belgrad, W’85, PAR’15 | Michal Clements, W’84 | Justin Gordon, W’05 | Jane Gutman, CW’73, PAR’14, PAR’16 | Leanne Huebner, W’90 | Jamie Kendall, W’04 | Irene Park, C’05 | Kiera Reilly, C’93 | Michelle Wattana, C’09 | Denise Winner, W’83

Read about our previous events:



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Filed under Alumni Programming, Penn Serves, Penn Serves LA, Volunteering

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