Group photo of participants at the California ReLeaf Network Retreat in Sacramento in 2023

2024 Network Retreat

Los Angeles | May 10, 2024

About the Retreat

The Network Retreat is the Annual get-together for California’s urban forest nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to improving the health and livability of California cities by planting and caring for trees. The Retreat is an excellent peer-to-peer learning opportunity and allows you to meet with other Network Member organizations all over the state, both large and small. Our agenda usually features Network Member presentations, networking opportunities, and information about new research, as well as funding and advocacy opportunities.

Scroll down to view information about our 2024 Network Retreat!


2024 Agenda Packet 

Download our Agenda Packet for details about the Network Retreat including speaker bios, presentation information, attendee list, and location information.

2024 Network Retreat Photo Album

We invite you to view the 2024 Network Retreat Shared Photo Album.

2024 Network Retreat Speaker Presentation Recordings

Peer-to-peer learning is one of our primary goals for our annual Network Retreat. We are incredibly grateful for this year’s terrific group of presenters who shared their research, ideas, and programs and helped facilitate thought-provoking discussions. We hope you are inspired by all the good work that is going on across the state!

Photograph of Francisco Escobedo

Dr. Francisco Escobedo

Research Scientist, USDA Forest Service-Pacific Southwest Research Station

Presentation: Tree Ambassadors: An example of socio-ecological research and community engagement

This presentation will discuss how the socio-ecological systems approach can be used to better understand the benefits and costs of urban forests. It will then present examples of projects where this has been used to address environmental problems, including here in Los Angeles via the Tree Ambassador’s program.

Download Presentation Slide Deck


Speaker Bio: Dr. Francisco J. Escobedo is a Research Scientist with the USDA Forest Service-Pacific Southwest Research Station and the Los Angeles Urban Center. Prior to this he was a Professor of Socio-ecological Systems at the Universidad del Rosario, Biology Department in Bogota, Colombia (2016-2020) and an Associate Professor of Urban and Community Forestry at the University of Florida (2006-2015). His research focuses on the environmental sustainability and resilience of communities and ecosystems in urban and peri-urban forests as well as measuring and informing the public about the benefits and costs of nature and how socioeconomic factors and policies drive changes to these ecosystems. 

Photograph of Luis Sierra Campos, Community Engagement Manager at North East Trees and California ReLeaf Network Retreat Speaker in 2024

Luis Sierra Campos

Engagement Manager at North East Trees

Presentation: From Transactional to Transformative: Strategies for Community Engagement

Explore the transformative power of community engagement. This session will delve into the four essential pillars: Participation and Inclusion, Communication and Transparency, Empowerment and Capacity Building, and Collaboration and Partnership, highlighting their critical role in fostering inclusive, effective, and sustainable interactions with urban communities. Gain practical strategies and insights to elevate your organization’s engagement approach, ensuring every project is responsive, accountable, and impactful in addressing the unique needs of urban environments.

Download Presentation Slide Deck


Speaker Bio: Luis Sierra Campos (he/him/él) is a compassionate and dedicated individual who has devoted his life to advocating for transformative justice, belonging, diversity, equity, and accessibility. As a base-building community organizer, communications strategist, and non-profit professional, he uses his skills to amplify the voices of marginalized communities and bring their stories to the forefront. Fluent in English and Spanish, Luis has collaborated with a diverse roster of public and private entities to positively impact the lives of individuals and communities locally, nationally, and internationally throughout his career.

Driven by a commitment to social justice, Luis has focused on sharing the experiences of disenfranchised communities, immigrants, youth, and those most affected by human-caused climate change and its impact. Drawing inspiration and hope from spirituality, contemporary social movements led by youth, women, and other people of color, and the wisdom of modern-day poets and scholars. His dedication to justice and equity is evident in his work, which positively impacts marginalized communities across California, the U.S., and Latin America. Through his efforts, Luis continues to make a meaningful difference in the lives of countless individuals, empowering them to create a more just, kind, and equitable world.

Photo of Igor Lacan

Igor Laćan 

Bay Area Environmental Horticulture and Urban Forestry Advisor, University of California Cooperative Extension

Presentation: Urban Forestry Hot Topic Roundtables

Igor will facilitate an interactive group discussion on various hot topics related to urban forestry.

 Download Session Notes

Speaker Bio: Igor Laćan is a University of California Cooperative Extension Advisor for the San Francisco Bay Area, specializing in urban forestry. He also serves on California ReLeaf’s Board of Directors as Board Secretary. His work with the UC Cooperative Extension program focuses on urban trees and water, developing research projects on emerging issues in urban landscapes. Igor also serves as a technical advisor and resource for landscape professionals, planners and architects, local governments, Cooperative Extension colleagues and other academics, and tree-focused non-governmental organizations.

Photo of Miranda Hutten with the USDA Forest Service

Miranda Hutten

Urban and Community Forestry Program Manager, USDA Forest Service

Presentation: Federal Update on Urban and Community Forestry Program

This presentation will provide an overview of federal programmatic updates including Inflation Reduction Act, staffing, and the Los Angeles Center for Urban and Natural Resources and Sustainability.

Download Presentation Slide Deck

Speaker Bio: Since 2015, Miranda Hutten has led the Urban and Community Forest Program for the Pacific Southwest Region (Region 5) of the U.S. Forest Service. Her program area covers California, Hawaii, and the U.S. affiliated Pacific Islands (Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, Republic of the Marshall Islands, American Samoa, and Palau). Her goal is to further partnerships with states, cities, communities and nonprofit organizations to increase awareness of the importance of trees in sustaining healthy and resilient communities. Miranda is a graduate of the School of Environmental and Public Affairs at Indiana University with master’s degrees in both natural resources management and applied ecology. She was appointed as a Presidential Management Fellow in the USDA Forest Service as well as served in natural resource management roles at various government levels and non-profits. In her spare time, Miranda enjoys wilderness camping across the region and attempting to develop a green thumb in her backyard.

Photo of Henry Herrera CAL FIRE UCF Program Supervisor

Henry Herrera

Urban Forestry Supervisor for Southern California, CAL FIRE

Presentation: CAL FIRE’s Urban and Community Forestry Grant Program

CAL FIRE will give an overview of their Urban and Community Forestry Program. The presentation will include services provided, grant funding opportunities, and program resources.

 Download Presentation Slide Deck

Speaker Bio: In 2005, Henry Herrera graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a Bachelor of Science in Forestry and Natural Resources with a concentration in urban forestry. Between 2004-2013, Henry worked in the San Bernardino, Cleveland and Sierra National Forests as a wildland firefighter, forester and special uses permit administrator. In 2014, Henry accepted a job as the San Bernardino Unit Forester working for the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE). From May of 2019 through April 2023, Henry worked as CAL FIRE’s Regional Urban Forester in Los Angeles and Ventura counties. Henry is now the Southern California Urban Forestry Supervisor for CAL FIRE. Henry’s main experience has been with fuels/vegetation management (fire prevention), reforestation, environmental studies, urban forestry, public information and working with youth from disadvantaged communities to increase their access to education and careers. Henry is a native of Southeast San Diego and resides in Menifee with his wife, son, and daughter. Henry is a Registered Professional Forester and Certified Arborist.

Photo of Victoria Vasquez, California ReLeaf's Grants and Public Policy Manager

Victoria Vasquez

Grants and Public Policy Manager, California ReLeaf

Presentation: California ReLeaf Advocacy Update

Victoria will provide an update on current State level advocacy efforts and ways Network Members can stay-up-to-date and get involved.

 Download Presentation Slide Deck

Speaker Bio: Living in the City of Trees, Victoria is passionate about creating equitable public health outcomes by increasing and maintaining a healthy tree canopy and green infrastructure. As the Grants & Public Policy Manager for California ReLeaf, she works to connect community leaders with their local and larger governments, to advocate for trees and to secure resources and grant funding to implement plantings. Victoria currently serves as a Girl Scout Troop Leader, Chair of the City of Sacramento Parks & Community Enrichment Commission, a technical advisor for Climate Plan, and on the Board of Directors for Project Lifelong, a nonprofit that supports youth development in non-traditional outdoor sports.

Photo of Alex Binck California ReLeaf's Network Tree Inventory Program Manager

Alex Binck

Tree Inventory Tech Support Program Manager, California ReLeaf

Presentation: Network Tree Inventory Program Update – Network Member TreePlotter Use Stories

Alex will provide an update on the newly launched Network Tree Inventory Program and highlight how Network Members are using their TreePlotter accounts for the benefit of their organization.

 Download Presentation Slide Deck

Speaker Bio: Alex is an ISA Certified Arborist who is enthusiastic about utilizing the newest research in arboriculture and data science to enhance the management of urban forests and improve community resilience in the face of a changing environment. Before joining ReLeaf’s staff in 2023, he served as a Community Arborist at the Sacramento Tree Foundation. During his tenure at SacTree, he assisted members of the public with tree planting and maintenance–as well as overseeing their community science programs. At California ReLeaf, Alex will help launch and oversee the implementation of our new state-wide urban forest tree inventory program for our Network of over 75+ urban forest nonprofits and community groups.

In his free time, he enjoys the great outdoors and his garden, where he grows a variety of uncommon plants and trees. He especially loves helping others identify trees in person and on platforms like iNaturalist.

About the Los Angeles California Endowment Conference Center

LA River Image showing trees
Address: 1000 N. Alameda Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Map and Directions to California Endowment Center Los Angeles (including Public Transit routes from LAX and Burbank Airport to Union Station)

Redwood Room 1 – Site Map

Parking: FREE On-site Parking is available

Public Transportation: California Endowment Los Angeles Conference Center is located 1-1/2 block from Union Station (Public Transport Center).

  • Click here: Metro Site for MTA information
  • Click here: Dash Site for DASH Downtown information

Map of Conference Center: Site Map & Meeting Room Locations

Thank you to our 2024 Network Retreat Sponsors!

Image of US Forest Service Logo
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