In response to the BLIA T-EARTH project, Fo Guang Shan Hsi Lai Temple and Saint Andrew Russian Greek Catholic Church were working together to organize the Interfaith Project: Plant A Tree, Save Our Earth at Steinmetz Park and Manzanita Park. On September 29, many distinguished guests were invited to the ceremony. The Abbot of Hsi Lai Temple Ven. Hui Dong, Pastor of St. Andrew Russian Greek Catholic Church Father Alexei Smith, Abbot of Rosemead Buddhist Monastery Ven. Bhante Chaochu, and Ven. Hui Cheng, Muslim representative Imam Fawaz Elmasri from Arcadia Muslim Congregation, Supervisor Janice Hahn representative Lauren Yokomizo, HHIA representative Jeffery Lin, Recreation Services Manager from County of Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation Brian Ceballos, President of Buddha’s Light International Association Los Angeles Chapter Alex Wu and BLIA members were invited to the ceremony. Together, they planted 10 crape myrtle trees, which marked the beginning of the save earth project.
Abbot Ven. Hui Dong stated that the earth is the common home for everyone, people should start protecting the common home actively. This ceremony can help bring people's awareness of saving our earth through their religious faiths. In the future, more similar events will be hosted to correspond to the BLIA T-EARTH project.
Father Alexei Smith mentioned he also reached out to many Catholic high schools for cooperating with similar tree planting projects through religion classes. Not only giving students lectures about the importance of saving our earth, but also physically planting trees with them.
Lauren Yokomizo, the representative of Supervisor Janice Hahn, shared that the notion of saving our environment is urgent. And they will continue supporting the event in the future. BLIA members participated in the ceremony very actively. They think this ceremony not only could bring awareness to others, and the future collaboration with schools is very exciting.
Recreation Services Manager Brian Ceballos also pointed out this tree planting ceremony is very meaningful to the environment because trees are dying around us. Tree planting can help to balance the number of living trees. One thing that is important for noticing is that the species has been chosen very carefully.
Crape myrtle is a strong vitality and high level of ornamental value to species to the environment. This meaningful event marks the beginning of Hsi Lai Temple’s tree-planting proposal. We hope that in the near future, with collaboration from different resources, the project can be expanded for improving our communities and environment.