TreePeople's Harvest Moon - Honoring My Work & Department

Each year TreePeople chooses a noteworthy leader to receive the Community Leadership Award. This year I am shocked and honored to be the reward recipient and Harvest Moon 2017 was truly magical. Check out TreePeople's blog about the event and decor, and celebrities. I've shared my acceptance speech below. 

Harvest Moon Acceptance Speech

Thank you, Will and Julie and Ten Strands. It’s been an honor to embark on this journey toward environmental literacy in California with you.

I’d like to start by thanking my parents, Myron and Darlene Dickens who are here tonight. Thank you to my dad for clocking more hours behind the wheel with me than all four of my siblings combined. You're the reason I can park the big TreePeople trucks.

Thank you to my mom for your unwavering support. If I possess any grace at all, I learned it from my mother.

And Scott, thank you for letting me be myself. It’s been 21 years I’m still mad about the boy.

I want to thank my dear friend and mentor, Chris Imhoff. Chris created and perfected the environmental education department. We stand on your shoulders today and every day. You know that. I know that. And now everyone knows that.

Thank you to my team! The staff of the EE department are elite experts in environmental education. You will not find better, anywhere. I am so proud to work FOR you every day. I love you guys.

I especially want to acknowledge the women who run the EE department - my three Senior Managers

  • Michelle Bagnato (our Tasmanian devil)

  • Amanda Begley (1977 was a good year baby)

  • Rosa Donis (when I grow up I hope to be as smart while being as

    stylish as Rosa.)

    These women can do ANYTHING. If you see them coming, just get out of the way. They’ve already won.

    Thank you guys for making it look easy. I know it’s not!

I'd like to Acknowledge those funders who have made a long-term investment in TreePeople’s education program –


  • The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation

  • The Walt Disney Company

  • The Boeing Company

  • Our partners at County of Los Angeles Department of Public Works


Environmental Education for All:

TreePeople’s Environmental Education Department is changing the way teachers teach and students learn in Los Angeles County. That’s all. While we love our dedicated teachers who work with us year after year, the truth is that while their students get a amazing, hands-on, project based, eco education, the students in the next classroom may get nothing. And we all know that there are students in neighborhoods all over Los Angeles who get even less.

TreePeople is dedicated to Environmental Literacy for ALL. To plant a tree on a school campus is perfect educational experience. You can teach math, science, art, and language, all through the simple act of planting a tree.

High school students are today’s consumers – and tomorrow’s voters. If we’re going to make sure that they know where our water comes from, how we generate energy, and the simple fact that the climate is changing, we need to go beyond the teachers who willingly volunteer to be involved in environmental science, and reach ALL students with a sharp focus on equity and inclusion.

This is the heart of TreePeople’s education work today and tomorrow. We sincerely thank you one and all for helping us make it possible.


Candice Dickens-Russell