Leonardo DiCaprio’s mom is a force for nature, Irmelin DiCaprio honored by TreePeople

Imagine Leonardo DiCaprio howling at the moon. Yep, he has. But the TreePeople’s “Evening Under the Harvest Moon” gala was honoring the woman who taught him to howl, respect nature, and fight for the environment.

(L-R): TreePeople Founder & President Andy Lipkis with Evergreen Award for Visionary Leadership honorees Irmelin DiCaprio, Dr. Jonathan Fielding, and Karin Fielding. (All photos by Adam Thomas/TreePeople)

Irmelin DiCaprio received the Evergreen Award for Visionary Leadership at the gala from Andy Lipkis, the enthusiastic president and founder of TreePeople, who noted, “Irmelin taught her son Leonardo DiCaprio to be respectful of the environment and brought him to TreePeople events when he was a child. He has become a champion of environmental causes thanks to his mother.”

Also honored at the celestial Hollywood event held outside surrounded by majestic trees, were  Dr. Jonathan Fielding and Karin Fielding who received the Evergreen Award for Visionary Leadership; and the Actors Conservatory Ensemble got the Barbara Goldenberg Award for Volunteer Service.

 Real stars were twinkling above the honorees and all the guests on hand to support the TreePeople and their commitment to creating a climate-ready, water-secure Los Angeles with an equitable tree canopy for present and future generations. That’s the mission statement worthy of the TreePeople’s wild tradition of howling at the moon at the end of the night.

Steve Koren, Molly Shannon, David Zucker, Katheryn Koren, and Fritz Chesnut.

It was a magical scene at the 31st annual Evening Under the Harvest Moon presented by the TreePeople on October 6, 2018. Held at the TreePeople’s headquarters in Coldwater Canyon Park. It’s a great oasis for travelers to visit in the middle of Los Angeles in the hills off of Mulholland Drive. It is one of the most beautiful places to take a hike or a leisurely stroll along the 45-acre preserve. The facility has daily tours and hosts various events open to everyone.

 “In the face of the increasingly severe extreme climate events threatening the health and safety of the people of Los Angeles, TreePeople is dramatically increasing its efforts to protect people and reverse the causes,” said Lipkis. “We are fortunate to have global leaders in the protection of public health and the environment, Irmelin DiCaprio, Dr. Jonathan Fielding and Karin Fielding, and special volunteers such as the Actors Conservatory Ensemble, who are playing key roles in dramatically expanding our programs and their impact.”

 Irmelin DiCaprio was born in a bomb shelter in Northern Germany, at the end of WWII, and as a child emigrated to the U.S. with her family. In 1998, Irmelin and Leonardo formed the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation (website LeonardoDiCaprio.org) which grew into a platform for environmental causes. Irmelin produced The 11th Hour, a 2008 documentary spotlighting environmentalists, including the TreePeople’s Lipkis. To date, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation has contributed over $100 million in financial grants to over 200 different nonprofit organizations worldwide. Leo’s mom is truly a force for nature.

 Producer Laurie Benenson (Dirt, Beasts of No Nation) presented the Transformative Leadership Award to Dr. Jonathan Fielding and Karin Fielding. Dr. Fielding schooled everyone on what’s being done by the Los Angeles Urban Cooling Collaborative, led by TreePeople, researching the rising heat in the city and the affects on public health and mortality. The scorching impact is indisputable.

 California State Treasurer John Chiang presented the honorees with proclamations. Notables on hand included mega-producers David Zucker (Airplane) and Lauren Shuler Donner (X-Men), actress Molly Shannon, Fritz Chestnut, Steve and Katheryn Koren, Julie Ann Emery, Samuel Page, Brittany Ishibashi, Aliyah Moulden, Adrieanne Perez, and the super sweet actor Robert Forster, who stars in What They Had. A film praised at Sundance, with Forester, Hilary Swank and Blythe Danner (October 19 release). Forster said, “It’s about a love, life-long and evergreen.”

 The celebratory fundraiser was emceed by lovely British TV host Kalee Hewlett. Also deserving of a shout-out is this year’s dedicated host committee, including Diane Behrens, Laurie and Bill Benenson, Suzanne Booth and LeMel Humes, Gay Browne, Beth Burnam and Monte Tomerlin, Kate and Art Coppola, Penney & Jim Cox, Andrew B. Fielding, Preston J. Fielding, Jay Griffith, Judy and Mark Kahn, Suzanne and Rick Kayne, Sue and Carl Robertson, plus the UCLA Jonathan and Karin Fielding School of Public Health, and David Ward.

Highlights of the elegant, woodsy event included Jim Hardie, TreePeople’s Director of Park Operations, conducting a lively auction. The gala raised $540,000 for TreePeople projects in LA County. That’s something to howl about. For more information, visit www.treepeople.org.

Barbara Goldenberg Award for Volunteer Service honorees from the Actors Conservatory Ensemble, with Andy Lipkis.



Margie Barron has written for a wide variety of outlets including Gannett newspapers, Nickelodeon, Tiger Beat and 16 Magazine, Fresh!, Senior Life, Production Update, airline magazines, etc. Margie is also proud to have been half of the husband & wife writing team Frank & Margie Barron, who had written together for various entertainment and travel publications for more than 38 years.