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Transforming Oakland's Landscape, One Tree At A Time

By Garvin Thomas
|  Saturday, May 4, 2013  |  Updated 9:54 PM PDT
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Kemba Shakur began Urban Releaf in 1998. 15 years and 15,000 trees later, she says she's only just begun.

Kemba Shakur began Urban Releaf in 1998. 15 years and 15,000 trees later, she says she's only just begun.

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 When Kemba Shakur moved to Oakland in the mid 1990's she joked that some state prisons had better landscaping than her block. Kemba would know. She worked for years as a guard at the prison in Soledad.

Kemba's walked away from that experience feeling that more needed to be done to help young men before they ended up in prison. The bleak landscape of her new home gave her an idea how to do it.

Trees.

Planting trees would not only beautify the city, Kemba determined, but also provide work and volunteer opportunities for the young men of Oakland. She was right.

To see what Kemba, and her Urban Releaf organization, have accomplished, watch Garvin Thomas' report above.

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