In March, Denzel Perryman, General Manager Tom Telesco and members of the Chargers organization got to know their new city by actually running through its streets.
On Friday, Josh Lambo literally got his hands dirty as he and many volunteers helped care for trees with TreePeople, an environmental non-profit dedicated to creating a climate-resilient Los Angeles.
"TreePeople goes around communities and they'll start planting trees," Lambo explained. "Then for up to five years, they'll maintain the trees. So today, we're doing tree care. We're going to make sure all the trees are properly watered and mulched. Kids from local high schools are here to volunteer, and it's a good way to give back to the community."
Friday's event in Huntington Park kicked off the first of 10 total summer tree care events. As Cristina Basurto, TreePeople Huntington Park Regional Manager, explained, volunteers will go back to 200 of the organization's planted trees throughout the summer to make sure they're properly taken care of. Each tree has specific needs from watering or mulching to re-staking.
"We have two clubs from two different schools; competing schools that are working together towards a common goal," Basurto said. "They want to give something back to their community. This is a low income community and we're overseeing a lot. These kids want to make sure this community builds up and thrives."
In 2016, TreePeople planted 154 total trees. In the first half of 2017, they have already added 135.
The event hit home for Lambo, as one of his passions is being conscious of the environment.
"I got an agriculture and renewable natural resources degree from Texas A&M," the kicker described. "So, being at a big agricultural school like Texas A&M, this is really prevalent in terms of everything that we learned. I'm very passionate about the environment, sustainability and properly dealing with our ecosystems."
"It's wonderful to have Josh with us representing this wonderful partnership that TreePeople has with our institutions, and the Chargers are one of L.A.'s institutions," mentioned Cindy Montañez, Chief Executive Officer, TreePeople. "It's really fun and to see him and his own personal passion for sustainability with these young kids. We love having him out here."
Although he himself is passionate about the environment, Lambo is well aware his presence can help influence a new crop of eco warriors. After all, if we're all sharing the same planet, shouldn't we take care of it?
"When you have a young superstar like Josh coming out, it inspires the other kids to think that this is fun and cool," Montañez explained. "Professional athletes who are watched by millions of people have a big responsibility. He represents the kind of person that we all want to see our professional athletes (be). It's wonderful to see the young people around him be excited to have a great time."
"It's important," Lambo added. "Especially as a football player, we're always wearing our helmets and pads when people are watching us. So no one really gets to know us up close and personal. This is a really cool way to get involved and meet new people and fans."
Visit TreePeople’s website for more information on how you can get involved.
Josh Lambo, along with local youth and volunteers, helped care for trees with TreePeople in Huntington Park.All photos courtesy of Adam Thomas.