The mission of Richmond’s trained, volunteer Tree Stewards is to promote and improve the health of city trees to assure the city’s forest will survive and thrive. This is accomplished by increasing public awareness through community education, planning and planting for the future, and providing maintenance and care for young trees on streets and in parks. Tree Stewards work closely with Urban Forestry and with other organizations interested in the health of our community forest.
What Do Tree Stewards Do?
Hugging a tree doesn’t do a thing for it. Instead, we work to care for our street and park trees and to make it easier for other Richmonders to enjoy them and understand how much they benefit us all.
Mother Nature did the watering during the spring and summer of 2013 and so Tree Stewards had more time other for tree care activities…
- We removed Gator bags from trees that had been in the ground more than 2 years. As for water, a tree should be on its’ own at that point and bags left on too long may cause insect or decay problems. One of our stewards cleans, repairs and stores bags that can be used again.
- Pruning projects keep us busy most of the year and takes us all over town from Forest Hill Ave to Bellevue and from the Museum District to East Broad. We prune for two reasons: clearance for pedestrian access & visibility at stop signs and developmental pruning to help young trees develop strong structure.
- Other activities include mulching (or correcting improper mulching) and staking trees when needed
- From January through November of 2013 Tree Stewards cared for 2,304 trees on public property in the city of Richmond
During 2013 we collaborated with many other community groups in some aspect of tree care, tree planting or education. Included are:
- MAC-ISA and its annual climbing competition
- Holton Elementary School and its active tree-planting and -care program
- Enrichmond Foundation and Earth Day
- Bellevue Civic Association
- Fan District Association
- Fan Women’s Club
- Friends of William Byrd Park
- Friends of Forest Hill Park
- Friends of William Byrd Park
- Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
- Master Naturalists
- Richmond’s Community Gardens coordinator
- Venture Richmond.
- VCU’s Tree Campus USA Advisory Committee
- Federal Reserve Bank in Richmond.
Other outreach opportunities were tables at farmers markets and educational service work days for William and Mary Branch Out students, and a group of Virginia Tech students.
Tree planting is also on our TO DO list. We assist other groups in getting the job done as well as manage our own tree planting projects. The list for 2013 includes.
- Assisting the local Mosquito Squad franchises to plant street trees they donated on a whole city block for Arbor Day,
- Planted 3 trees to eventually shade a Richmond fire station in a canopy-deprived neighborhood.
- Planted 28 trees – most natives and most large shade trees – in a well-used city park, also in a canopy-deprived neighborhood.
And thanks to the following for supporting Tree Stewards in 2013
- The Fan District Association
- Dennis Fund includes additional money that will be used for a later planting.
- Altria and the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay.
Though our efforts and those of all who work with us, we will all be rewarded by the benefits healthy trees provide!
Volunteering as a tree steward is interesting, enjoyable and a wonderful way to serve the community. To become a certified tree steward one must attend a series of classes, pass a pruning exam, and complete community service hours that double as “on the job” training. Our hope is that most citizens who become certified will continue to work with the organization. Our class is a 10 week course held annually, usually beginning in January. Contact Us for more information about the organization.