A conversation with Gordon Piper

Current Position: Founder of North Hills Landscape Committee in 1979. In 1991, after the Oakland Hills Firestorm, this changed to the Oakland Landscape Committee our greening projects expanded to places all over Oakland that were impacted by the Firestorm. Currently I am the Chair of the Oakland Landscape Committee.

What is/was your relationship to ReLeaf?

The Oakland Landscape Committee first joined California ReLeaf as the North Hills Landscape Committee in 1991. We have been a long-term affiliate of California ReLeaf working on tree planting and care, public and park gardens, school gardens and reforestation efforts in our community.

What did/does California ReLeaf mean to you?

California ReLeaf has been a great partner of our small grassroots greening organization and community-based landscape committee. It was this significant partnership that helped secure grant funding after the Oakland Hills Firestorm to help with reforestation projects. This partnership also provided information that helped us, in collaboration with the City of Oakland, to secure a major ISTEA grant of approximately $187,000 that helped in building the Gateway Garden and Gateway Emergency Preparedness Exhibit Center. ReLeaf also was valuable in helping to connect us with many similar greening organizations and to learn about their programs here in California.

Best memory or event of California ReLeaf?

I enjoyed the ReLeaf annual conferences and had one of my best times at an network conference in the early 1990s playing drums or musical instruments with other leaders of greening groups and singing songs at an evening social event, allowing us to let our hair down and connect with each other.

Why is it important that California ReLeaf continue its Mission?

I felt the annual conferences of ReLeaf were like a battery recharging station where you could get inspired to continue with your community service work in urban forestry and greening. ReLeaf has also done great work in securing funding for greening work in California, and this is critical to enhancing our environment and urban forests. When the going gets tough like last year with little State support, ReLeaf goes to work and shows that there is still hope and support for the important work that ReLeaf groups do in California. Go California ReLeaf!

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