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A San Fernando Valley Tradition- Hazel becomes a beacon hope
Bo Lebo -- NEO,Inc. -- Literacy Matters Bo Lebo -- NEO,Inc. -- Literacy Matters
Los Angeles, CA
Thursday, December 24, 2020

Leading the way to nurture and nature
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Kids are Kids…even if your age no longer describes your body, or your social description.  But here it is, it was dark and the sirens were blaring and two huge ladder trucks drove up.  They were ready, fully lit and Santa was aboard.....

Last night we were inspired by Los Angeles Fire Department, Station 88 in the celebration of our local 90 foot baby redwood tree, and  the World Peace, Hope, and Prosperity as an annual light to the World on the SFV largest living Holiday Redwood Tree.


While telling stories of light and peace seemed appropriate this holiday and the reminder we will get through this and the tree seemed a perfect entry point, but we needed a beacon to signal the event to come ..a story telling interfaith zoom gathering…and Santa and the leadership of Captain Clark from Station 88 came to the callOut of the night came a siren, and commotion and instead of Donner and Blitzen there was Santa and his elves and fully ready firemen with ladders at the ready in full holiday décor!!!! We were given a Polestar by Lumineo to put up as our candle to represent the elements that connect to build a full and inclusive community.  They put up their ladder and put the crown alight. 

I felt like I hit the jackpot and started dancing.  I was struck by the magic that Californian, New York or even the word Fireman triggers in 2020 or since 9/11 or Norman Rockwell, the San Francisco Fires or witnessing the arrival of a fire truck for Kids First at Hamlin several years ago.

When I heard that the Light up the Night tradition would be continued this dark, cold, Covid Christmas by the whole community in greater Sherman Oaks working together because Joi and I stood that it must chills went through me. 

Totally remarkable because of the community and statewide shutdown in months of mandatory masks, social distancing and raging civic and social issues, in several days of total hospital beds in scarcity, I heard a strong solid voice of the Captain say… We will be there.  How about 7?

The self-designated worker elves of this Church of the Chimes team, Joi and Bo had already confirmed the support of Pastor Beth Bingham and the Sepulveda store of Aldik Home had donated a wonderful light, with the subject of this community outreach happening a sole living tree adjacent to our elementary school and in reach of our children's programs now a symbol of the church annual festival of cheer and light would be standing gracefully waiting tall in the dark for a social and spiritual invention of topping the tree with a star that would light the season.

In order to transition and add a new social support to what might return in the future for our valley community, we had the light, the cords, and the opportunity, but the Polestar Lumineo would have to wait for the problem was the task set the light safely a top the tree, and Hazel, one of our 3 living campus redwoods, at the Church of the Chimes, stands towering some 90 feet high.

It had been a wonderful year measuring height, moisture, and more data-based elements using the GLOBE Observer app whether Trees, Clouds, Landcover and the like, but now the season needed action and that is what Station 88 Sherman Oaks was now about to add.  Hazel, our iconic (soon to be neighborhood) landmark state specie, was to become a navigator tree for our street, a community connector to the regions Mayors, a social support when people are busy and overwhelmed, and beacon in the dark for those we can not be with, but want to show our support.  And there they were the LA City Fire Department station representatives, better than Christmas cookies, ready, giving help and good cheer to help us and others cope, Station 88 Sherman Oaks, Selpulveda, generous and bright!

No sooner than my heart leaped at the sound and the flashing lights, Captain Clark and his remarkable crew rolled up and made my holiday fantasy a reality complete with Santa, helpers, helmets adopting our host tree for signaling the season, creating future citizen science fun to come, and lifting our hearts and minds to the stars to watch for the sleigh or the converging planets tonight.  Whatever your situation, your faith, your status, or your dreams, we welcome you this Christmas Eve to see light, life, gratitude, recovery, resilience, and restitution whatever your companions this cold and symbolic night.

We all need to look towards healing, health, and happiness to come- and in the Ho, Ho, Ho of our holiday and our dedication to continuity and converging stories, celebration, and hope- the Sherman Oaks Fire Department provided laughter, leadership and a ray of hope.


There are no calories to look up to the heavens or blame in breaking out under your mask in song, with the enthusiasm of the 88 we lit up the skies to welcome the season and thank all our lucky stars we are together working for a stop of the surge and to recover our natural resources, annual traditions, and national unity with the blessing of faith, hope, unity, and joy as our ladders. 

Hope you laugh as you see the photos and explore if you can invent a great holiday anew wherever you are and with whoever you are with.      

1000 thank yous now that Hazel has been set alight. 

We hope you have a Merry Christmas and the Happiest New Year.

Credits: This Time of My Life Psa was created by Joi Staves and Bo Lebo for Christmas Eve in Los Angeles, December 24, 2020. Photo by Bo Lebo.


(resource urls below)



Hazel, standing for the future, with Scott and Fellow can be seen by Google Map at the Church of the Chimes, and the holiday services are:


The Fire Dept standing for the Future:


North Hollywood and Sherman Oaks are working with VIC to make this an interfaith supported holiday with resources to keep warm, fed and safe:


Talking for Trees on Ted:


Surfing Santa in the SouthBay can be heard and stories….on KPCC…more great kids than ever before..hear his comments on the Take Away…Ho, ho, ho:


GLOBE Observer app- 3 times a N.E.O (Nasa Earth Observer, New Education Options ( Bo is the Director of this 501 c 3), Lumineo Polestar (is the Dutch brand name of the light fixture we used to illuminate our tree and Aldik Home has it in stock on Sepulveda Blvd.)……GLOBE will list this event in its Partner and Country survey for 2020 provided by UCAR…all these similar initials are just coincidence. The brand, STEM research, and the literacy project have no name relationship except by chance)…however as a result of this beacon of light legacy tree lighting several children received gifts this holiday….what a treat!:

One viewpoint is from the North Pole!!!!


NEO mission:


Trees around the GLOBE:


Our redwood parks:


Susanne Simard: We are all connected and just forgot…



International Virtual Science Symposia or Science Poster training:



For more information about how to bring GLOBE to your hybrid learning all stars, write Bo at leboc@coyote.csusb.edu and we can find out how to study trees and so much more with mission EARTH and so many great skills, adventures, and science poster possibilities.  Join us for the International Virtual Student Science Symposia, write me to find out more.





News Media Interview Contact
Name: Cynthyny Lebo
Title: Director
Group: New Education Options, Inc
Dateline: Sherman Oaks, CA United States
Main Phone: 818-742-5099
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