Interview with Elisabeth Hoskins

Current Position? Retired from California ReLeaf

What is/was your relationship to ReLeaf?

Staff: 1997 – 2003, Grant Coordinator

2003 – 2007, Network Coordinator

(1998 worked in Costa Mesa office with Genevieve)

What did/does California ReLeaf mean to you?

Privilege to meet amazing people all over CA who really care about clean air, clean water, the environment in general. Amazing bunch of people who didn’t just talk about things, they did things!! They had courage; courage to write a grant application, to pursue funding, and to complete a project – even if they had never done it before. As a result, trees get planted with the help of lots of community volunteers, habitats get restored, educational tree workshops are held, etc. etc. and in the process a community comes together and realizes that it takes cooperative effort to live within a healthy, sustainable urban forest. It takes power and guts to make real what they believe in. ReLeaf empowered Action in community (grassroots) volunteers.

Best memory or event of California ReLeaf?

Cambria Statewide meeting. When I first started at ReLeaf it was just before the statewide meeting in Cambria. Because I was new, I didn’t have many responsibilities . We convened at the Cambria Lodge hotel which was surrounded by a forest of Monterey pines and one could hear rustling sounds at night when the windows were open. It was a grand initiation into ReLeaf.

The highlight of that meeting for me was a presentation by Genevieve and Stephanie on the ‘Big Picture of California Urban Forestry’. With the help of an enormous chart, they explained how the different local, State, and Federal agencies and groups worked together to improve California’s urban and community forests. During that talk a light bulb went off in my head as to the hierarchy of urban forest groups. I learned that many shared my reaction. We were finally seeing the whole picture!

Why is it important that California ReLeaf continue its Mission?

Let’s face it: people’s lives are busy raising families and paying the mortgage. Concerns for the environment often take a backseat. CA ReLeaf’s grassroots groups, through tree plantings and other community building activities , are building awareness and understanding from the ground up. This, I believe, is very effective. It is vital that people stay involved on a very basic level and to take ownership and responsibility for their environment.